Colorado Avalanche prospect Sampo Ranta has finally landed with the right college program. The 2018 third-round pick was originally committed to the University of Wisconsin, but was released from his National Letter of Intent earlier this summer. Intrigue surrounded the young forward, with speculation that he could land with a number of top schools. However, he has finally made a decision; Randy Johnson of the Star Tribune writes that Ranta has officially joined the Gophers of the University of Minnesota.
Ranta, 18, is a Finnish native, but has already been playing in the United States for the past couple of years. The sharp-shooting left wing made the jump overseas in 2016 to join the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers. Although he was drafted into the CHL, Ranta continued to focus on the college route and remained with Sioux City. Last season, he finished second on the Musketeers with 37 points and was a top 20 goal scorer in the league with 23 tallies, despite missing time while playing at the World Juniors.
He now brings that same offensive punch to one of the more historic hockey programs in the NCAA. Playing with the Gophers, Ranta will be surrounded by other talented young forwards like recent NHL draft picks Rem Pitlick (NSH, 2016), Thomas Novak (NSH, 2015), Brent Gates (ANA, 2015), and Scott Reedy (SJ, 2017). The scoring forward promises to be a thorn in the side of the Wisconsin Badgers and many more teams over the next few collegiate season. Ranta and company hope they bring enough to the table this season to get the Gophers back to the NCAA Tournament.