Earlier on Monday, the Colorado Avalanche announced that they have signed forward Mikko Rantanen to a three-year, entry-level contract.
The Avalanche selected Rantanen at 10th overall with their first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft in June.
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Last year Rantanen played with TPS of the SM-Liiga where he scored 9 goals and 19 assists (28 points) in 56 games.
In the Jr. A SM-Liiga, he played in 7 games, where he scored 6 goals and 8 assists. He also scored 4 goals in 5 games for Finland at the 2015 World Junior Championships. and was named a Top 3 Player on Team Finland.
“Mikko is a versatile forward who brings size, skill and a high compete level,” said Avalanche Executive Vice President/General Manager Joe Sakic. “We saw him at our development camp last week and are now eager to see how he does at our training camp in September.”
Adam Kimelman of NHL.com said the following about Rantanen.
“A giant power forward (6-4, 211) is well-equipped for the North American game. The 18-year-old led all under-20 players in scoring in Liiga, Finland’s top professional league, and was Finland’s best player the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. He skates well for a player his size and wasn’t intimidated playing against older competition.”
Out of the top 10 picks from the 2015 NHL Draft only Mitchell Marner and Zach Werenski have not signed entry-level contracts.
The Avalanche have a lot of flexibility with Rantanen. As it stands, he definitely has NHL size and could be ready to break into the league. Jarome Iginla is currently slotted to be their second line right wing, however Rantanen may be able to slide into the top 6.