AVALANCHE

Mikko Rantanen breaks Avalanche record set by his boss Joe Sakic in ’96

Jan 19, 2023, 3:54 PM

The Avalanche have battled a ridiculous number of injuries this year.

And even though they’re currently on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, it’s scary to think where this team might be without Mikko Rantanen.

The Finnish forward has played in all 43 games, leading the team in points with 56. He’s not an All-Star yet, which is a crime, but has a chance tonight when the final roster spots are revealed. Rantanen has been phenomenal the entire season, and the Avs have needed all 31 goals and 25 assists so far.

Two of those goals came on Wednesday night in Calgary, an impressive 4-1 win over the Flames to bring Colorado to 23-17-3 on the season. They’re just two points back of Calgary for the final Wild Card spot, also having played three fewer games. Things are looking better for the Avs, as they’re riding a three-game winning streak after hitting rock bottom in Chicago.

But, back to Rantanen. He made history for the Avalanche against the Flames, becoming the fastest player in team history to score 30 goals in a season. It took him 43 games, which broke a mark set by Joe Sakic all the way back in the franchise’s first season in Colorado.

Sakic, of course, is Colorado’s president of hockey operations, so he’s Rantanen’s boss. It’s pretty cool that Mikko caught up to him 27 years after he set the original mark. And, asked postgame about the accomplishment, Rantanen had a fantastic response.

Now that’s a man that gets it. Rantanen isn’t focused on the individual awards — he’s focused on the team goals. He earned his first Stanley Cup last year, but wants a second one soon. In his eyes, that would put him on equal footing with Sakic.

It’s the right mindset for a team that’s getting hot when it simply had to. They’re lucky to have Rantanen, because he’s a big reason this season could still be special.

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