Mikko Rantanen agreed to a six-year contract with the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The 22-year-old restriced free agent forward did not attend Colorado training camp and has not played in any of its six preseason games. The Avalanche open the regular season Oct. 3 against the Calgary Flames.
"To get a player of Mikko's caliber back just before the start of the regular season is going to be a big, big boost to our team," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said in Dallas, where Colorado played its final preseason game. "It will slot everyone on our roster exactly where they're supposed to be too. He's an exceptional talent and we're looking forward to getting him back on the ice."
Rantanen, who had been training with SC Bern in Switzerland, had NHL career highs with 31 goals, 56 assists and 87 points in 74 games with the Avalanche last season, and 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
"We'll brush him up with a couple of meetings if he gets in on time," Bednar said. "I know he's been skating and working hard. He always comes to camp in really good shape and I'm sure that will be no different this year. Our guys are excited to have him back and he's a huge piece to our team."
Video: Top 10 plays of 2018-19: Rantanen
Rantanen had 16 power-play goals, 33 power-play points and was plus-13 last season, his fourth in the NHL. He has increased his goals, assists and points each of the past three seasons and was the second-leading scorer for the Avalanche last season behind center Nathan MacKinnon (99 points; 41 goals, 58 assists) last season.
"We're really excited to get it over with," Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said. "Obviously we wish it could have been done a little bit sooner. But we're excited that we're hopefully going to have him for the first game (of the regular season). He's going to be paying for a lot of dinner, so hopefully his credit card is ready to go."
Selected by Colorado with the No. 10 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, Rantanen has 209 points (80 goals, 129 assists) in 239 regular-season games and 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in 18 playoff games.
"Signing Mikko to a long-term deal has been a priority, and we are excited to have him under contract for the next six years," Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said. "Mikko has established himself as one of the premier young wingers in the NHL and is a big part of our core group. We look forward to having him back with the team as we get ready to start the season."
Rantanen was among the high-profile restricted free agent forwards to sign in time to start the season, including Mitchell Marner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor of the Winnipeg Jets, Matthew Tkachuk of the Calgary Flames, Brayden Point of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks.
NHL.com independent correspondent Josh Clark contributed to this report