Dreger on Rantanen-Avalanche contract negotiations

The gap between what the Avalanche wanted to pay Mikko Rantanen and what they’ll end up shelling out to their star forward may be rather vast.

Darren Dreger had a Friday morning radio hit on Buffalo’s WGR 550.

As part of a larger discussion on the impressive crop of potential restricted free agents on the NHL’s horizon this summer, the Insider shed some light into how the negotiating process has gone thus far between the player’s camp and the team.

“I’ve got a bit of a story on Mikko Rantanen,” began Dreger. “I’m not being critical of Joe Sakic and his management here. But I believe that there was a discussion with the Rantanen camp prior to the start of the season, and the Colorado Avalanche were comfortable at offering around $6 million, just over $6 million.”

Sounds a tad low.

“Oh my goodness,” agreed Dreger. “It was low then, and it’s absurd now. Then there might have been some dialogue, informal or otherwise, at some point in the season where Colorado was creeping up to around 8. Well, 8’s not getting it done.

“And I do feel for Sakic and Cheveldayoff and Julien BriseBois in Tampa Bay. I think all of these guys and their representatives are waiting to see what happens in Toronto. I think Matthews establishes the market, and then everybody kind of falls in line.

“I don’t think it’s going to be out of the question for Mikko Rantanen to demand - I don’t know - $11 million or $12 million?

Rantanen will be coming out of his entry-level contract after this season, and can become an RFA in the summer.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly