Colorado Avalanche: 3 Franchise Highlights for 2018

Colorado Avalanche(Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Colorado Avalanche(Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Colorado Avalanche
Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The big Fin leads the NHL in points.

Mikko Rantanen has gone from a solid, quiet 2017 campaign to a breakout season in 2018.  Mikko had a respectable 38 points last season for the Avalanche.

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Not even halfway through the 2018 season, Rantanen has 59 points.  He is on pace to put up an incredible number.  If his health and ability hold, Rantanen could put up a number that only names like Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux have eclipsed.

A side-note, Gretzky’s 215 point 1986 season is possibly the greatest major sports record there is.  When they talk about records that will never be surpassed, that one resides near the top.

Despite his 6’4″ frame, Rantanen has just 58 penalty minutes in his Avalanche career.  He is a smart, skilled player that has a masterful touch and vision.  He reminds us of Jari Kurri, another Finlander that had a similar game alongside the white hot Gretzky.

Rantanen isn’t just the beard for Captain Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon, he’s the glue that frees the playmaking abilities of his linemates.  It’s not coincidence that he is an incredible passer, his rise in the points standings has come on the back of an assist increase year-over-year from 18 to 55.

With Rantanen pushing the NHL’s top line to incredible heights, the Avalanche have made a push to be a contender this season.  For a franchise that not that long ago expected to always be in contention, it’s a welcome return to the top and a place they should expect to occupy: