Mikko Rantanen (born 29 October, 1996) is a Finnish ice hockey player who is currently playing for Colorado Avalanche. The Finnish plays as a right winger but is fine with playing also as a center position. Rantanen is a classic power forward who is able to utilize his size and skills in perfect manner. He was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in 2015, being the first choice for Avalanche and 10th draft overall.
Early career in Finland
Rantanen played his junior and early professional career in TPS Turku, Finland. He played his first match in Finnish SM Liiga in 2012-13 season at the age of 16 years – and became the youngest player to represent TPS first team in SM Liiga match. After 2012-13 season, Rantanen was drafted to KHL by Russian team Neftehimik Niznekamsk.
Rantanen played two more seasons in TPS and was named as assistant captain at the age of 18. Good progress of the young Finn was noted by the scouts and Rantanen was ranked high in the draft speculations of 2015. After being drafted by Avalanche, he made a three-year entry contract with the team later same summer.
Career in Colorado Avalanche
Rantanen made his way to the first team and made an NHL debut in the first regular season match of season 2015-16. However, most of the season Rantanen played in Avalanche affiliate team in AHL league, San Antonio Rampage. During the season, Rantanen played nine NHL matches without scoring any points. In Rampage, he scored 60 points and was the best point scorer of the team. He was chosen to AHL All-Star game and was awarded Red Garrett Memorial Award for being the best rookie in AHL.
Next season Rantanen was injured during pre-season and started the regular season in Rampage. Soon he was moved to Avalanche roster and played a solid season with 38 regular season points. After this, he made the breakthrough and played two wonderful seasons, scoring 84 and 87 regular season points. Avalanche made it to the play-offs both times. At the end of regular season 2019-20, Rantanen has scored a total of 250 points in NHL regular seasons. Before season 2019-20, Rantanen signed a valuable six-year contract with Colorado Avalanche.
Rantanen played in Finnish U20 national team in 2015 and 2016 U20 World Championships. Rantanen won gold with the Finnish team in 2016 U20 Championships. Rantanen made his international senior debut in 2015, when he was only 18 years old. He has represented Finland in 2016, 2017 and 2018 senior World Championship games. In 2016 tournament, Finland finished second. Rantanen was the team captain of Finland in that tournament. Moreover, Rantanen played in U18 World Championship tournament in 2014.
Other interesting stuff
The nicknames of Mikko Rantanen are Rane and Hot Wheels. In his spare time, he likes to play golf or tennis. At younger age, Rantanen played often also frisbeegolf. He is known for his happy personality and a big grin on his face. Rantanen has a bright future in the NHL ahead of him.