NHL

Mikko Rantanen signs 6-year, $55.5M US deal with Avalanche: Reports

According to reports, restricted free agent forward Mikko Rantanen has signed a six year, $55.5 million US deal with the Colorado Avalanche.

Deal reportedly carries an average annual value of $9.25 US

According to reports restricted free agent Mikko Rantanen has signed a six year, $9.25M US annual deal with the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. (Craig Lassig/Associated Press)

The Colorado Avalanche made right winger Mikko Rantanen their highest-paid player for the upcoming season after the restricted free agent signed a six-year deal worth $55.5 million US on Saturday.

The 22-year-old Finn will reportedly be paid $12 million this season and in 2020-21, with a $9.25 million annual salary cap hit. His yearly salary with diminish slightly in subsequent seasons, with $10 million 2021-22, $6 million 2022-23, $9.5 million in 2023-24 and $6 million in 2024-25. Then he will be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent.

Rantanen's $12 million annual salaries are the franchise's second highest overall, trailing only Joe Sakic ($17 million in 1997-98). No. 3 is Peter Forsberg with $11 million in 2001-02 and 2003-04.

On Friday, restricted free agent Patrik Laine and the Winnipeg Jets agreed to a two-year, $13.5 million contract.

Rantanen "will likely be in Denver Monday at the latest," according to his agent, Mike Liut. The Finland native has been training in Switzerland and Norway, and reportedly he and Laine, his friend and countryman, flew back to Helsinki after the Jets right winger reached an agreement.

"Signing Mikko to a long-term deal has been a priority, and we are excited to have him under contract for the next six years," Sakic, the Avalanche's general manager, said in a press release. "Mikko has established himself as one of the premier young wingers in the NHL and is a big part of our core group. We look forward to having him back with the team as we get ready to start the season."

Last season, Rantanen, 22, set career highs in goals (31), assists (56) and points (87) on the Avalanche's top line, skating with Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog.

He was a standout in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this spring, scoring six goals and adding eight assists in 12 games. He scored the winning goals in Games 4 and 5 in a first-round Western Conference playoff series against the Calgary Flames.

A first-round pick (No. 10 overall) of the Avalanche in the 2015 NHL Draft, Rantanen has collected 209 points (80 goals, 129 assists) in 239 games over four seasons.

The Avalanche open the 2019-20 season at home Thursday in Denver against the Calgary Flames.

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