Cap Comparables: Connor, Rantanen opt for long-term deals

Watch as Kyle Connor scores the winning goal in overtime as the Winnipeg Jets manage to tie the series at two against the St. Louis Blues.

And then there were none.

With four days to go before the regular season begins, the last of the restricted free agents have come to terms with their teams. Aside from Jesse Puljujarvi, who is playing in Finland while awaiting a trade from the Edmonton Oilers, every other RFA now has a deal.

On Saturday, Mikko Rantanen agreed to a six-year, $55.5 million with the Colorado Avalanche. Kyle Connor then agreed to a seven-year, $50 million deal with the Winnipeg Jets a couple of hours later.

What makes these contracts interesting is the term, with both players opting to sign for longer than many of their other RFA counterparts.

Let’s take a look at how both contracts compare to other deals around the NHL. Thank you to the always-helpful for the contract details.


Kyle Connor

Best comparable: Clayton Keller, eight years, $7.15 million AAV

If Connor’s contract looks familiar, it’s because Arizona Coyotes star Clayton Keller signed an almost identical one earlier this month. Keller still has a year to go on his rookie contract, and got one more year on the extension, but his AAV of $7.15 million practically matches Connor’s $7.14 million.

The comparison extends beyond the money for these two. Keller has 114 points through his first 167 career games while Connor has 128 points in 178 career games.

While Connor has shown himself to be a better goal-scorer so far — with back-to-back 30-goal seasons — both players have shown enough similarities in their games to earn comparable contracts.

Other comparables: Johnny Gaudreau (six-years, 6.75 million AAV), David Pastrnak (six-years, $6.666 million AAV), Filip Forsberg (six-years, $6 million AAV)

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Mikko Rantanen

Best comparable: Mitch Marner, six years, $10.893 million AAV

Like Connor, Rantanen’s best comparable is a contract signed in September. Mitch Marner’s six-year deal carries an average annual value of $10.893 million, slightly more than Rantanen’s $9.25 million.

On the scoresheet, the two have similar offensive numbers. Through 239 career games, Rantanen has 80 goals and 209 points. Marner, through 241 games, has 67 goals and 224 points.

Besides points, the two have a lot more in common. Both are 22. Both are the highest-scoring wingers on their teams. And both signed for six years.

So what made Rantanen get over $1.5 million less, on average per season, than Marner? Likely it was comparables on their teams.

Rantanen’s deal makes him the highest-paid Avalanche player, by a lot — almost $3 million more than Nathan MacKinnon — while Marner still trails both Auston Matthews and John Tavares in payroll on the Maple Leafs.

A high tide raises all boats. But the lower tide in Colorado may have saved the Avalanche some money on Rantanen’s contract.

Other comparables: Nikita Kucherov (eight-years, $9.5 million AAV), Claude Giroux (eight-years, $8.275 million AAV), Vladimir Tarasenko (eight-years, $7.5 million AAV)

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