How could a very young guy unexpectedly lead mediocre team to the top and make himself the best point producer in the league?
It was almost three years ago, when Finland became junior world champions. That Finnish team was highlighted mainly by Patrik Laine, Jesse Puljujarvi or Sebastian Aho. Well, all those guys are still great, but there is one other guy, who currently leads the NHL in points and that´s Mikko Rantanen. Not many experts were focused on Rantanen that time, but he was the captain and main leader of golden team of Finland.
The trio Rantanen formed with Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog is the best in the franchise history after relocation from Québec. Rantanen was born in just a small town in Finland, which has approximately 5000 habitants. His first year in the NHL was that year when Avalanche ended dead-last in the competition with only 48 points, but it was a great learning experience for the young Fin.
Last year there was a lot of buzz around Matt Duchene’s trade and his trade after all made a very positive impact on the team. MacKinnon-Rantanen-Landeskog line has been created and the rest is history. Avalanche finished last season with 95 points and shockingly making the play-offs. It was one heck of a turn-around for Rantanen and his Avs.
Mikko Rantanen picked up 84 points in the process. This season he already has 46 in just 26 games. The Finnish forward is on pace for a year we may remember for an eternity. Second in the league in points is his teammate MacKinnon with 41 points. It was last year when MacKinnon ended up with 97 points and was strong candidate for the MVP award.
This time around, Rantenen has come out stronger than MacKinnon. MacKinnon is one of the most quickest guys in the NHL, Landeskog is the captain and a great two-way player and he is the catalyst between them, who is a playmaker, said Rantanen what he thinks about chemistry built between three stars.
Besides Rantanen’s great individual play, he leads Colorado to the very top. Really a 48-point team traded such a star like Matt Duchene and then they can reach 48 points by Christmas nowadays? Give a huge credit to Mikko Rantanen. Avalanche´s GM Joe Sakic will have plenty of work to do next summer, when Rantanen becomes a restricted free agent. But there should be no doubt about his extension, he is a generational talent and a franchise leader.