Mikko Rantanen sent to San Antonio despite showing improvement

Mikko Rantanen sent to San Antonio
October 18, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Colorado Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen (96) moves the puck against the Los Angeles Kings during the first period at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After playing six games and scoring zero goals and zero assists, 2015 first-round draft pick (No. 10 overall) Mikko Rantanen has been reassigned to San Antonio. Dennis Everberg will be taking his place in the roster after having scored three goals and two assists in three games for the Rampage.

Rantanen began the year playing on a line with Carl Soderberg and Borna Rendulic. This combination did not generate any offense and was shoddy defensively. Rantanen was then moved to a line combination with Jarome Iginla and Matt Duchene, who had good things to say about the rookie, despite not being able to produce much as a unit.

Rantanen is still trying to get used to the North American-sized ice, but he has shown that he is improving drastically. There is a bit of contractual strategy also being implemented by the front office (Colorado saves a year of free-agent eligibility by sending him down before his 10th game), but the move is a bit surprising considering that Rantanen seemed to be fitting in and playing up to expectations, particularly on the defensive end.

Before the roster moves were made, Rantanen’s line mates spoke about his development from a first-hand point of view.

“He is getting more confidence every day, and that’s a big part of the game for everybody,” Iginla said. “There’s no question he’s got the tools and the skill set. He can always make the simple play, but he’s making more crafty plays each game and we are getting closer to breaking out.”

“You can see that he is figuring it out and it’s coming,” Duchene added on Rantanen’s progress. “When you come in at that age, it’s tough to be comfortable right away but he has done a really good job at pushing himself and making that transition.”

It seems as though Rantanen was heading in the right direction, but the way Dennis Everberg has been producing could help spark some more offense for the Avs. The little ice time Rantanen has been receiving (and fully not maximizing) is a great reason to let him go to San Antonio for a while. There he’s going to get more playing time, more experience and will continue his growth in to, what could be a great career. In San Antonio he will join many other prospective Avalanche players, as they all continue to build and improve for the future of the Colorado Avalanche.

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