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Rantanen Named to Finland's Worlds Roster

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

Mikko Rantanen will be going for the rare feat of winning two gold medals for Finland in one calendar year when he takes the ice with the National Team at the 2016 IIHF World Championship next month in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia.

The Colorado Avalanche prospect was added to Team Finland's training camp roster on Wednesday. Rantanen captained his nation to a gold medal at the Under-20 World Junior Championship in January.

The Finnish forward was Colorado's 10th overall selection at the 2015 NHL Draft and had a record-breaking season with the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League. He led the Rampage with 24 goals, 36 assists and 60 points in 52 games, setting franchise rookie records in each category, and was named a co-winner of the Dudley (Red) Garrett Memorial Award as the AHL's most outstanding rookie.

The youngest player in Rampage history also became the second-youngest skater to participate in the AHL All-Star Classic, as Rantanen was the team's lone representative at the league's midseason event.

He completed his first season in North America with points in 42 of his 52 AHL contests, finishing second among league rookies and ninth overall in scoring. The forward was also named to the All-Rookie Team and Second All-Star Team as well.

Rantanen made the Avalanche's opening-night roster as an 18-year-old, the fifth player to achieve the feat with Colorado, and went on to play in nine NHL games during two stints with the major-league club.

In December and January, the Nousiainen, Finland, native helped lead his country to its fourth World Junior Championship title. He had two goals and three assists in seven tournament games, including tallying a key power-play goal in the third period of the final. Finland defeated Russia 4-3 in overtime in front of the home crowd in Helsinki.

Rantanen has also previously played for Finland at the 2015 World Junior Championship, 2014 Under-18 World Championship, 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

The 2016 IIHF World Championship runs May 6-22, with Finland opening preliminary-round play against Belarus.

Colorado's Matt Duchene (Canada), Calvin Pickard (Canada), Semyon Varlamov (Russia) and prospect JT Compher (United States) will also play in the annual tournament.

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