As the number or unsigned restricted free agents dwindles, two of the highest-profile names have decided to head to Switzerland to join SC Bern - one of them is Colorado Avalanche star winger Mikko Rantanen.
A couple days after reports surfaced that Patrik Laine would be joining the NLA team, SC Bern head coach Kari Jalonen told Finland’s Iltalehti that Rantanen will be joining the team as well. Mikko skated earlier this summer with Norway’s Storhamar Dragons. Jalonen said he expects Rantanen to practice with his team for at least the two weeks and possibly beyond.
“We want to help them. We have a few injuries and a lack of forwards, so the boys get a good practice with the team. Even today ( Tuesday ) Patrik had a full day of work in the morning and then on his own. When Mikko comes in, the pair gets to practice the things they need in the game. The boys can also compete with each other” - Kari Jalonen
Missing from Avalanche training camp, it is believed Rantanen is looking for a long-term contract in Colorado in the neighborhood of $10m a season. Though the two sides believed they were nearing a deal about a week ago, the deal signed by Mitch Marner may have thrown a wrench into negotiations. Whichever you think is the better player, the difference between Marner and Rantanen is razor thin so it’s perfectly reasonable to believe Rantanen deserves something close to the $10.893 AAV contract Marner received from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar told the media after his team’s preseason opener Monday night that he’d “love to have Mikko at camp” but then added:
“I’ll be honest, I haven’t thought a lot about Mikko Rantanen since camp started. I can’t. I don’t have the time. I’ve got to worry about the guys we have here.”
And then this happened:
Mike Liut, who represents Avs RFA Mikko Rantanen, just told @Sportsnet650 his client's comparable is Leafs forward Mitch Marner.— James Cybulski (@JamesCybulski) September 18, 2019
These negotiations could get worse before they get better.