What will Rantanen’s next contract look like?

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Despite the fact that he’s leading the NHL in scoring, it still feels like Mikko Rantanen is an underrated superstar. Maybe that’s because he plays in Colorado, maybe that’s because he’s on the same team as Nathan MacKinnon, but it just feels like he doesn’t get the love he deserves.

He’ll probably get more attention if he wins the Art Ross Trophy, or if the Avs pay him huge money on his next contract. Rantanen is in the final year of his entry-level deal, which means the two sides will be taking care of business in the near future.

The line of Rantanen, MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog has arguably become the best in the NHL. Rantanen and MacKinnon are first and second in the league in scoring, while Landeskog is also running at a point-per-game pace this year. The Avs may be top-heavy, but it’s totally fine if you have three players that can produce at this rate.

When it comes to contracts, Colorado has already taken care of MacKinnon (four years remaining at $6.3 million) and Landeskog (two years remaining at $5.571 million).

So what should the Avs expect to pay Rantanen starting next season?

First, no matter what the number is, expect him to become the highest paid player on the team by a wide margin.

In 2017-18, the 22-year-old had 29 goals and 84 points in 81 games, which means he was tied for 16th in scoring last season. This year, he’s already up to 42 points in just 25 contests. That puts him on pace for 138 points. There’s no way he comes close to 140 points, is there? Regardless, he’ll be getting a significant raise before the start of the 2019-20 campaign.

To figure out how much he’ll make, let’s take a look at some of the recent major extensions that have been signed by elite wingers.

Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov, who was one of three players to hit the 100-point mark last season, inked an eight-year, $76 million deal ($9.5 million AAV) with Tampa last summer. That’s a decent comparable. Last year was really Kucherov’s second big year. He also had a pair of 60-point seasons before that, but he’s three years older than Rantanen, which means he’s had more time to prove himself. This feels like a strong comparable.

Jets captain Blake Wheeler, who is 10 years older than Rantanen, just signed a five-year, $41.25 million deal ($8.25 million AAV) with Winnipeg. The 32-year-old is coming off a 91-point season in 2017-18, and he’s on pace to surpass that number this year, as he has 32 points in 24 contests. He out-produced the Avs forward by a few points last year, but there’s a huge difference in age here. Given the difference in age, you’d have to think that Rantanen’s AAV will be higher than Wheeler’s.

Sharks forward Logan Couture and Stars forward Tyler Seguin are both part-time wingers, who also play down the middle at times. Couture signed an eight-year, $64 million deal last summer, while Seguin inked an eight-year, $78.8 million extension in September. Both players are older than Rantanen and neither of them had more points than him last year.

Keeping all of the above numbers in mind, it sure looks like Rantanen is heading for an eight-year deal worth north of $80 million total. Kucherov out-performed him last year, but the fact that the Avs forward is only 22 years old makes him that much more valuable. That’s not to say that Kucherov is old or anything, but wasn’t as productive as Rantanen is when he was 22.

If the Finn keeps producing at a similar clip, it’s not unreasonable to think that he could earn somewhere around $11 million per season on a long-term deal.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

“That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

“It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

“It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

“We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.

TAKE NOTE

The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).

UP NEXT

Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Predators postpone 2 games due to Nashville water main break

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The Nashville Predators postponed two home games because of a water main break that soaked their downtown arena.

Hours after the Predators decided they couldn’t play against the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced it also postponed the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Makeup dates for the two games will be announced later.

The NHL said the water main break that occurred “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

“We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store. The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

The Predators’ next home game is now scheduled for Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They also had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.

Toronto’s Morgan Rielly placed on long-term injured reserve

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
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TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman Morgan Rielly on long-term injured reserve with a knee injury.

Rielly was hurt in a collision with with New York forward Kyle Palmieri early in the third period of Toronto’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Islanders at home.

Rielly has no goals and 16 assists in 20 games this season and is averaging 23 minutes of ice time.

Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said following practice that the 28-year-old Rielly doesn’t need surgery, adding there’s no firm timeline for his return beyond the minimum 24 days and 10 games required for going on long-term injured reserve.

Toronto’s defense is also missing Jake Muzzin with a neck injury and T.J. Brodie with an injured oblique.