Geek of the Week: Is Mikko Rantanen the Real Deal in Multicategory Leagues?

by Scott Maran on March 18, 2018
  • Geek of the Week
  • Geek of the Week: Is Mikko Rantanen the Real Deal in Multicategory Leagues?

After an abysmal season last year, the Colorado Avalanche have bounced back big time this year. Even though they still may fail to qualify for the postseason, there’s been a huge improvement in their play as they’re no longer at the bottom of the standings. Much of this can be contributed to the superb play of Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen, who have been carrying the offense this season. However, despite the stellar breakout season from Rantanen, fantasy poolies should remain cautious with him. As appealing as his point totals are, the fact that he doesn’t contribute to other categories makes him a risky own in the future.

Drafted 10th overall by the Avalanche just three years ago, Mikko Rantanen quickly became one of Colorado’s top offensive prospects. After a nine-game tryout in 2015, he made the NHL full-time last year and put up a very respectable 20 goals and 18 assists in 78 games. Entering the season this year at only 21 years old, Rantanen had plenty of potential (and the opportunity) to break out. The only thing that might have held him back was the team he was playing on, as he might not have received a ton of support on what was expected to be a pretty terrible Avalanche roster.

However, Rantanen has completely blown away expectations as he’s been one of the most productive players in the league. This has translated especially well to fantasy hockey as he’s always been one of the strongest fantasy hockey players to own. According to our Fantasy Hockey Geek, in an average 12-team Yahoo league measuring goals, assists, shots, power-play points, and hits, Rantanen is ranked as the 37th best skater.
 

 

Rank

FHG Value

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

HITS

Ryan Suter

38

47

71

6

41

140

22

70

Jonathan Marchessault

39

47

66

22

42

224

13

74

Mikko Rantanen

40

46

68

24

48

148

28

23

Jake Muzzin

41

46

67

6

30

143

12

157

Anze Kopitar

42

46

70

28

49

165

23

44


Out of all players Rantanen currently has the 15th-most points in the league and is tied for the 37th-most goals. His power-play point totals have also been excellent as he has the ninth-most points with the man advantage. His shots on goal and hit totals are lacking, but his overall value is propped up by the immense amount of points he’s accumulated this season.

Here lies the biggest problem though. Rantanen doesn’t provide much value outside of goals and assists. His excellent power-play point totals are nice, but if your league counts peripherals like hits or penalty minutes, Rantanen won’t contribute much. Out of the top 40 skaters in FHG Value, only three players have hit totals lower than Rantanen’s, as most top players can at least come close to 60-70 hits a season. This will probably be the second year in a row we see Rantanen fail to break even 30 hits in a season. It doesn’t look like this will change anytime in the future, as Rantanen will not provide any sort of value with hits.

The same can be said about almost any other stat, such as penalty minutes, plus/minus, or shots. Throughout 70 games Rantanen has only racked up 33 penalty minutes, and in his whole career he only has 56 penalty minutes across 154 games. Just take a look at what happens to his value once we add penalty minutes as a category in our league in our Fantasy Hockey Geek tool. His value drops down all the way to 52nd, right behind Alexander Edler and Milan Lucic.
 

 

Rank

FHG Value

GP

G

A

PIM

SOG

PPP

HITS

Alexander Edler

50

52

57

3

25

54

135

13

134

Milan Lucic

51

52

70

10

22

67

132

6

220

Mikko Rantanen

52

50

68

24

48

28

148

28

23

David Perron

53

50

63

16

47

46

115

16

107


And while his plus/minus is a respectable +4 this season, he can’t help you a lot in that category, as he when he’s scoring 70+ points his plus/minus is barely positive. Not to mention, last year it was an abysmal minus-25. The looming threat of the Avalanche imploding again looms large, and this could again be potentially devastating to his own plus/minus.

Lastly, Rantanen’s shot totals are horrendous for a player with his point totals. With only 150 shots on 70 games, Rantanen is barely averaging over two shots a game. Elite players like Connor McDavid and Nikita Kucherov can average over three shots a game! While we shouldn’t expect Rantanen (or a lot of players) to start averaging three shots per game, barely eclipsing two is troubling. Out of the top 15 scorers in the NHL, Rantanen by far has the lowest amount of shots, with the second-lowest being Claude Giroux’s 164 and third-lowest being Anze Kopitar’s 175 shots.

Despite Rantanen having some of the highest point totals in the league, his value is still only around 40th best, which is problematic for his long-term fantasy potential. If he can’t get his peripherals up (like his shots), that puts a relatively low ceiling on his overall value, as it will be difficult for him to sustain this sort of offensive production. I like Rantanen a lot, but it’s difficult for any player to consistently maintain a point-per-game average. If Rantanen’s offensive game starts to slow down, he has nothing else to fall back on. Enjoy this breakout season while you can if you own Rantanen, but be wary about his value in leagues that count categories other than points.

 

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