Pending Colorado Avalanche restricted free agent forward Sampo Ranta has signed a two-year contract with the newly-promoted MoDo Hockey of the SHL, as announced by the team Thursday.
Colorado can still issue a qualifying offer to Ranta, which would keep him on the organization’s reserve list when his SHL deal expires in 2025. The Avalanche would maintain his rights at that point if he wanted to make an NHL return.
The 22-year-old Finn was a third-round selection of the Avalanche in 2018, but his promising collegiate numbers haven’t yet translated to the pro level. Over the past two-and-a-half seasons with the AHL’s Colorado Eagles, Ranta has registered 22 goals and 43 points in 110 games. It’s not awful, but after a point-per-game junior campaign with the University of Minnesota in 2020-21, the organization was expecting a bit more.
Ranta did get multiple NHL looks, accumulating 16 regular-season games and two playoff games, but he failed to register a single point. For an Avalanche team that relies heavily on its top-six forward group, there weren’t many ice time opportunities for Ranta even when in the NHL lineup.
It’s likely why he’s opted to head overseas to a hungry MoDo team looking to stay in Sweden’s top league after earning promotion from the Allsvenskan this past season. He’ll have plenty of opportunity there and should be among the team’s scoring leaders at season’s end.
Born in Naantali, Finland, this will be Ranta’s first time playing in a European league since junior action with the Red Bull Hockey Academy in Austria in 2015-16.