The fan voting for the 2023 NHL All-Star Game has concluded and for the second straight year, the Colorado Avalanche have three players selected to attend the event. As a part of the new format the NHL selected the first 32 payers to the initial roster and then had the fans vote on who they wanted to fill the remaining three spots — two skaters and a goaltender. Cale Makar was selected as a part of the initial Central Division All-Star roster at the beginning of January, despite many thinking, Mikko Rantanen should have been the first choice. Luckily fans were able to make their voices heard and sent Rantanen along with the other half of Colorado’s dynamic duo, Nathan MacKinnon, to Sunrise, Florida for the annual competition.
For Rantanen, this is his second all-star game selection. His first came back in 2019 when the Avs entire first line of himself, Gabriel Landeskog, and Nathan MacKinnon were selected to attend the festivities in San Jose, California.
To this point in the season, Rantanen has garnered league-wide recognition for his play, especially during the month of December. Rantanen's play in the absence of Nathan MacKinnon helped keep the Avalanche afloat and has gotten some media members to slip his name into the Hart Trophy conversation.
Mikko Rantanen currently leads the Avalanche in goals with 31 and was the fastest player to hit said number in franchise history. His staggering goal total is over double the next closest player on the Avs (Arturri Lehkonen with 14) and puts him at fourth overall in the league. Rantanen also leads Colorado in points with 56 over the team's first 43 games of the season, putting him at eighth in the league, tied for said position with Florida’s Matthew Tkachuk.
Nathan MacKinnon is no stranger to the All-Star Game. This is the superstar center’s sixth consecutive selection to the game. MacKinnon’s streak of selections ties him with Peter Forsberg for the longest All-Star Game streak in Avalanche history, behind Joe Sakic with eight.
Despite missing the majority of the month of November, Nathan MacKinnon is still putting up staggering numbers for the Avalanche. Through just 32 games this season MacKinnon is sitting strong at 49 points, putting him at 1.53 points per game. That rate is the third-best in the league and just .06 behind second-best Leon Draisaitl. And despite Rantanen leading the team in points and goals, as previously mentioned, MacKinnon leads the team in assists with 36.
All three Avalanche representatives absolutely deserve to be there, and if it weren’t for the NHL’s rule that every team must have a representative they would likely all be going every year.
The Skills Competition and All-Star Game take place in Sunrise, Florida on February 3rd and 4th. Mile High Hockey will have you covered for information and recaps on all three of the Avs representatives during the event.