Colorado Avalanche Offseason Checklist

The 27-year-old player has been earning $9.25 million per season since 2019.

Rantanen has consistently delivered, averaging at least 1.23 points per game over the past four seasons and even better in the playoffs with a minimum of 1.25 points per game, scoring 62 points in 48 games during that period.

He is set to receive a significant raise and possibly an eight-year contract, which could make him the highest-paid winger in NHL history, surpassing Artemi Panarin’s $11.643 million cap hit but still behind Nathan MacKinnon’s $12.6 million.

Contract Talks and Future Plans

Though Rantanen’s current contract runs through next June, it would be wise for MacFarland to understand his asking price now to help with future spending plans as they pursue other players who will likely want multi-year deals. Knowing what their finances will look like for the 2025-26 season can simplify these negotiations.

### Re-signing Casey Mittelstadt

Let’s shift focus to Casey Mittelstadt, an important restricted free agent (RFA). The Avs made a surprising trade at the deadline by acquiring him from Buffalo in exchange for Bowen Byram. This move strengthened their second line after losing Nazem Kadri to Calgary in free agency.

Mittelstadt had a breakout year in 2022-23 with 59 points and followed up with another solid season, scoring 57 points across two teams this year. However, he only managed ten points in eighteen games post-trade—a drop from his performance with the Sabres—but was more effective in the playoffs with nine points in eleven games .

Fans might think this news is exciting because it shows how much potential Mittelstadt has.

Mittelstadt’s current three-year deal worth $2.5 million annually requires a qualifying offer of $2.6 million and makes him eligible for arbitration before he can become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Given these circumstances, another short-term contract seems unlikely.

Due to salary cap constraints, it’s hard to see Colorado offering Mittelstadt a max-term deal as it would complicate their summer plans financially. A medium-term agreement of four to six years seems more feasible and could potentially double his qualifying offer up to around $6 million annually.

### Building Depth

Last summer, Colorado signed several low-cost one-year deals to complete their roster: Drouin, Chris Wagner, Joel Kiviranta were among those added while re-signing Andrew Cogliano—all for under $825K each—and brought Frederik Karlsson from Dallas on a minimum salary contract.

On defense, they re-signed Jack Johnson at minimum wage and later acquired Caleb Jones also on minimum salary terms—though not every addition was successful; Drouin became crucial upfront while most others did well enough considering their cost-efficiency but all except Wagner are free agents next month!

To fill many roster spots left vacant due largely due partly because Mittelstadt’s potential new deal plus perhaps bringing back Drouin means looking internally or signing low-cost free agents again—Nikolai Kovalenko & Jere Innala seem likeliest candidates though both come higher-priced than last summer’s depth adds!

MacFarland will likely target four-six players near league-minimum salaries or close-to-it contracts filling forwards/defense corps gaps alongside potential mid-season recalls via two-way deals worth NHL-minimums too! Expect plenty such signings early days free agency; Colorado should lead them!

What do you think about these moves?

Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson is a Senior Writer for HockeyMonitor. With a background in Sports Media, Alex joined the team in 2022. He focuses on providing the latest hockey news, game scores, and fresh NHL trade rumors.

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