Mikko Rantanen and the Colorado Avalanche likely will engage in contract talks once training camp gets closer next month, general manager Joe Sakic said Thursday.
"We haven't had much dialogue since the [2019 NHL] Draft but camp's coming around so there'll be pressure on both sides," Sakic said. "Looking forward to the opportunity to have Mikko back and I'm sure he'll be back here."
The restricted free agent forward was second on the Avalanche in scoring last season with an NHL career-high 87 points (31 goals, 56 assists) in 74 games (Nathan MacKinnon led Colorado with 99 points). Rantanen led Colorado with 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games, and scored the game-winning goals in Games 4 and 5 of the Western Conference First Round to eliminate the Calgary Flames.
"We want him here for training camp," Sakic told the Denver Post. "No one needs the distraction, so hopefully we're going to be in contact here shortly and get something done. We kind of have a pretty good idea where he should be slotted. Hopefully, when we start our dialogue soon, it shouldn't be that hard."
Selected by the Avalanche with the No. 10 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, Rantanen has 209 points (80 goals, 129 assists) in 239 regular-season games through four seasons, and 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in 18 playoff games.
Rantanen is one of several high-profile RFA forwards who have yet to sign a contract for this season, including Mitchell Marner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks, Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor of the Winnipeg Jets, Brayden Point of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Matthew Tkachuk of the Calgary Flames.