Less than a week after the hilariously predictable Mitch Marner-to-Europe reports began to make news, it looks like fellow RFA Mikko Rantanen is working on his own backup plan overseas.
As he awaits a new NHL contract, the Colorado Avalanche winger is apparently skating with the Storhamar Dragons of the GET-ligaen, the highest level of professional hockey in Norway. The Dragons recently tweeted a photo of the young Finn skating with the team, using the opportunity to light-heartedly troll the Avs in the process.
Hey @Avalanche! This guy looks quite happy in Hamar, and we promise to take good care of him! Just take your time, we've got jersey number 96 available... #GoAvsGo #2hockey #storhamargutta pic.twitter.com/1PuLma75iq— Storhamar Hockey (@StorhamarHockey) August 26, 2019
Colorado, however, made it clear that the team prefers to see its star player in blue and burgundy.
Rantanen is one of many big-name RFAs still awaiting a new NHL contract as training camps are set to begin in September — Marner, Brock Boeser, Brayden Point, Matthew Tkachuk and Zach Werenski round out the star-studded list.
Many expect the Marner domino to fall first in order to set the market, and it looks like his negotiations with the Maple Leafs have potential to spill into the 2019-20 regular season, similar to what happened last season with William Nylander.
Marner’s camp reportedly reached out to the Zurich Lions in Switzerland last week to discuss the star potentially practicing with the team.
With Rantanen and the Avalanche patiently waiting for Marner to set the market, a resolution appears to be far from imminent. The Avalanche have approximately $15.6 million in available cap space for next season, but with Tyson Jost, Vladislav Kamenev and Nikita Zadorov set to become RFAs next summer, there’s pressure on general manager Joe Sakic to get Rantanen’s deal right.
Rantanen, who was drafted 10th overall in 2015, is coming off of a career year in which he posted 87 points in 74 games, adding 14 more in 12 postseason contests.
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