Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said he expects to begin contract talks with restricted free agent forward Mikko Rantanen before the start of training camp.
“We haven’t had much dialog since the (2019 NHL) Draft but camp’s coming around so there’ll be pressure on both sides,” Sakic said Thursday at his charity golf tournament in Sedalia, Colo. “Looking forward to the opportunity to have Mikko back and I’m sure he’ll be back here.”
The Avalanche selected Rantanen with the No. 10 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. He has played in 239 regular-season games and has 209 points (80 goals, 129 assists). He’s added 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in 18 playoff games.
The 22-year-old native of Finland scored a career-high 87 points on 31 goals and 56 assists in 74 games in the 2018-19 season.
He was a standout in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this spring, scoring eight goals and adding six assists in 12 games. He scored the winning goals in Games 4 and 5 in a first-round Western Conference playoff series sagainst the Calgary Flames.
“We want him here for training camp. No one needs the distraction, so hopefully we’re going to be in contact here shortly and get something done,” Sakic said. “We kind of have a pretty good idea where he should be slotted. Hopefully, when we start our dialog soon, it shouldn’t be that hard.”
Rantanen’s now-expired contract had an annual average value of $ 1.66 million, but he is expected to become the Avalanche’s highest-paid player.
Training camp begins Sept. 11.