The Colorado Avalanche and Mikko Rantanen finally inked the long-awaited extension, much to the relief of everyone involved.
The Contract Details
However, the construction of the contract offers some interesting twists.
- There are no signing bonuses.
- The contract is front-loaded. Rantanen will earn $12.5 million for the first two years, $10 million for the third, $6 million in 2022-23, $9.5 million for the following year, ending with $6 million for the final season.
- He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end.
- The deal covers two unrestricted free agency years.
For those who don’t know much about the Avalanche, Rantanen skated as center Nathan MacKinnon’s trusted right wing along with Gabriel Landeskog on left wing on the team’s top-scoring line. The 22-year-old from Finland ended last season second on the team in scoring and 17th in the NHL with 87 points. He finished the 2017-18 season with 84 points after his 38-point rookie season in 2016-17.
His contract holdout raised some concerns, especially after Rantanen’s agent – Michael Liut – stated he expected his client to get the same money as the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Mitch Marner. The $10.89 million suggested salary floated by Liut dashed hopes for a reasonable contract negotiation. A significant divide separated the two parties as the stalemate continued.
The Avalanche are a small market team with a number of quality young players who will need raises in the next couple years. General manager Joe Sakic had been hoping to sign Rantanen long term for a salary in the mid-$8 million range, more in line with Carolina Hurricanes’ Sebastian Aho’s five-year $8.454-million AAV deal.
The Avalanche didn’t get all the term they wanted but more than the bridge deal Liut initially suggested. Meanwhile, Rantanen didn’t get all the money he wanted but he is now the highest paid player on the team, with his salary representing 12.3% of the team’s current projected salary cap.
The Avalanche now have $6.365,239 in projected cap space with a 24-man roster. They will need to be down to the NHL mandated 23-man roster once the season officially starts. The Avs also currently carry 45 contracts, with five open spots before hitting the league maximum of 50.
The team locked up one of their young stars while still maintaining room to add a key piece or two before the trade deadline and without putting a host of players on injured reserve.
His teammates seemed to be excited about Rananten’s return. Both team captain Landeskog and defenseman Ian Cole were quick to add their input on Twitter.
“He’s gonna be paying for a lot of dinners, so hopefully his credit card is ready to go,” commented Avalanche Captain Gabriel Landeskog.
Rantanen will be skating in an Avs jersey for the next six years and the Avalanche avoided serious cap issues. The offseason really is over. Now it’s time for real hockey.