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Mikko Rantanen named NHL’s First Star

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The Colorado Avalanche star has been the best player in the NHL through the first month of the season

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Columbus Blue Jackets Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Avalanche star Mikko Rantanen has been named the NHL’s First Star for the month of October. Rantanen finished the month with a league-leading 21 points as a part of the NHL’s most dangerous forward line.

Though the team has suffered from a severe lack of secondary scoring, Rantanen, along with Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog have provided enough fire power to guide the Avalanche to a 7-3-2 record and a spot near the top of the NHL standings.

Last season was a breakout one for Rantanen. In a year that was overshadowed by MacKinnon’s rise to super-stardom, Mikko established career highs of 29 goals and 84 points in 81 games played - good enough for 17th in the league’s scoring race. Now he is proving to everyone that those offensive numbers were no fluke. He is on pace for an even better season and is making the rest of the league take notice.

No longer one of the league’s quiet stars, Rantanen’s dynamic offensive ability has put him in the conversation as one of the best wingers in the NHL,

The 22-year old is in the final year of his entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season. He is certainly going to become Colorado’s highest paid player this summer, and if he keeps producing at this rate, it’s going to be hard for the team to keep his cap hit down.

He came out of the gates on fire this season, recording a point in each of his first nine games - beating a record set by John-Michael Liles back in 2010.

Rantanen’s 16 assists were the most in a single month by an Avs player since Peter Forsberg did it during the 2002-03 season.

The 10th overall selection in the 2015 draft, Rantanen is one of the best young players in the NHL and is only getting better. It’s going to be fun to watch him battle with Nathan MacKinnon all season for the Art Ross trophy.

Evgeni Malkin and Patrick Kane were named the second and third stars respectively.