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The Colorado Avalanche should pay Mikko Rantanen right now

The Colorado Avalanche should pay Mikko Rantanen right now
Published On: Wed, Oct 10
October 16, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Colorado Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen (96) moves the puck ahead of Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson (42) during the third period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Much was speculated over the summer about whether or not theA Colorado AvalancheA were going to make it a priority giveA Mikko RantanenA a contract extension. It was argued that the team should lock up their star right winger with a new a long term extension before his Entry Level Contract expires at the end of the 2018-19 season. The organization indicated they were content to wait as Rantanena€™s camp wanted to see how the season played out, as mentioned by General Manager Joe Sakic in his season opening press conference. A second point per game season would give Rantanen a much stronger case for a big-money, long term extension.

It obviously takes two to tango on a deal but there certainly is a figure that gets the attention of the other party. Assuming there is any possible deal within reason it would be wise to take the proactive approach.

The case for waiting

The Avalanche have team control over Rantanen for the next four years and do not have to rush into any contract decision. Rantanen also does not have arbitration rights upcoming, although that may not end up as a benefit to the organization. A long drawn out contract process with no deadline is possible as seen currently playing out withA Toronto Maple LeafsA forwardA William Nylander, who is still withholding his services into the regular season while he waits for a contract. An offer sheet is also possible, though they rarely are executed even if there are many ironically gleeful at the idea to take advantage of a team who cana€™t handle their business in a timely manner.

Rantanen is not a star center nor the face of the franchise and those are the players who generally are in position to get their money early. The Avalanche bucked this trend when they signed captain Gabe Landeskog to a seven-year extension just two years into his NHL career but since then have waited until contracts expired to address long term extensions.

The aforementionedA NylanderA also plays into the Avalanche waiting on Rantanen because it will be a contract comparable despite Nylander only hitting a career high in points of 61 to Rantanena€™s 84. As it stands right now Rantanena€™s best comprarables areA Boston BruinsA wingerA David PastrnakA who signed a six-year deal at $6.66M Annual Average Value coming out of his ELC and a career high of 70 points in his breakout season andA Edmonton OilersA centerA Leon Draisaitlwho signed an eight-year $8.5M AAV contract after scoring 77 points in his third season. Rantanen likely falls between these two comparables but where exactly to peg him is tough without more information.

The case for an extension

There is more upside in waiting for Rantanen than for the Avalanche as the price likely only goes up by the day. With the salary cap growing each year, especially with now Seattle all but confirmed to add to the expansion coffers, contract comparables are only going to increase and young talented players are getting their long term extensions earlier in their careers as well.

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