Colorado Avalanche star winger Mikko Rantanen remains a restricted free agent but isn’t altogether concerned about his impending contract status as the summer slowly marches to an end.
Rantanen, who is one of several high-profile stars across the NHL without a deal — a group that includes Toronto’s Mitch Marner, Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk and Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point — appears to be optimistic about a deal getting done in time for the 2019-20 campaign.
"[It's] nice that I'm trusted and the club wants to make a long [-term] deal. Let's see what happens … The situation hasn't bothered me,” Rantanen said Friday via NHL.com.
Rantanen emerged as one of the NHL’s best wingers over the past two seasons, scoring 31 goals and 87 points in 2018-19. The 22-year-old is a core component of one of the NHL’s best lines alongside Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog as the trio appears poised to light up the scoresheet for years to come.
Colorado upset Calgary in five games during the first round of the playoffs, before bowing out against the San Jose Sharks in seven games. Rantanen is now focused on leading the Avalanche back to heights they haven’t seen since general manager Joe Sakic was lacing up his skates.
“I believe we can take one step ahead," Rantanen said. "Second round last spring was good, but we were in Game 7, one win away from reaching the conference final. We have a stronger team now, so the expectations are high. You need depth to be able to win. Look at [the] St. Louis [Blues], they had four good lines, as did [the] Boston [Bruins]. You don't win the Stanley Cup if you don't have depth."
Rantanen could become one of the NHL’s highest-paid wingers. For now, that’s tomorrow’s concern, even as the regular season rapidly approaches.
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