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Colorado Avalanche Top 25 Under 25: #2 Mikko Rantanen

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The Big Moose just keeps getting better and better

NHL: APR 14 Avalanche at Blues

The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Mile High Hockey community. Eight writers have ranked players under the age of 25 as of August 1, 2021 in the Colorado Avalanche organization. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. Now, we’ll count down each of the 25 players ranked.

Its not often that someone considered one of the best players in the league at his position and doesn’t rank at the top of this poll but the Colorado Avalanche are in an enviable position with both Mikko Rantanen and Cale Makar viewed as league superstars. Yet, there was still support among our writers to consider Rantanen as the best of the organization’s young players and for good reason.

Rantanen at right wing is a unique blend of size and skill who can make dazzling plays with the puck with his incredible hands. He is the Avalanche’s best threat on the power play with his patented one-timer. His shot is very accurate and over his five NHL seasons is a career 16.2% shooter. Rantanen can use his high hockey IQ to craft impressively creative plays and proves that he is a true dual threat offensively. Though he uses his large frame more for puck protection than throwing big hits, Rantanen has earned his nickname of the “Big Moose” as someone who is very difficult to contain.

At 24 years of age Rantanen is entering his prime and just enjoyed the best season of his career tallying 30 goals in 52 games and he put up a career-best 1.27 points per game average. He led the Avalanche in goals and points with 66 and the league in plus/minus at +30 despite not getting near the fanfare teammate Ryan Graves received the year prior for earning such distinction.

Rantanen isn’t just a recent revelation as he has been a major contributor to the Avalanche ever since his rookie year even in that ill-fated 2016-17 season where he was the only player on the team to score 20 goals. Since then Rantanen has been remarkably consistent scoring no fewer than 19 goals (in a 42 game injury and pandemic shortened 2019-20 campaign) and has seasons with 29, 30 and 31 goals already in his career. Over that five year NHL career Rantanen is top 25 in the league in points in than span with 316 points in 324 games proving his meaningful impact from day one.

On the horizon for Rantanen should produce another strong season where hopefully he and Nathan MacKinnon push each other for the team scoring lead and also Hart Trophy consideration. It is not a far fetched idea as Rantanen finished 10th in voting for the 2020-21 season and is clearly gaining respect from the voters. Hopefully in the coming year Rantanen will also have the opportunity to lend a large hand in helping Finland in their quest for a gold medal at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

T25U25

#3: Samuel Girard

#4: Bowen Byram

#5: Alex Newhook

#6: Tyson Jost

#7 Justin Barron

#8 Sampo Ranta

#9 Martin Kaut

t10 Jean-Luc Foudy

t10 Logan O’Connor

#12 Justus Annunen

#13: Oskar Olausson

#14: Shane Bowers

#15: Drew Helleson

#16: Sean Behrens

#17: Mikhail Maltsev

#18: Alex Beaucage

#19: Trent Miner

#20: Colby Ambrosio

#21: Dennis Gilbert

#22: Daniil Zhuravlyov

#23: Tyler Weiss

#24: Nikolai Kovalenko

#25: Nick Henry