Ranta forgoes senior season with Minnesota, signs NHL contract with Avalanche

Sampo Ranta played in 102 games over three seasons for Minnesota (photo: Ben Ludeman).

The Colorado Avalanche announced Saturday that the team has signed Minnesota junior forward Sampo Ranta to a three-year, entry-level contract.

He will report to the AHL’s Colorado Eagles.

In signing, Ranta gives up his senior season.

In 2020-21, Ranta posted a career-best 31 points in 31 games while also establishing career highs in goals (19) and assists (12). His 19 tallies ranked second in the nation while he led the Gophers in goals, points and finished second in power-play goals (3). Ranta’s +19 rating and four game-winning markers were both tied for second on the team.

The Naantali, Finland, native was named to the All-Big Ten First Team and was a Big Ten All-Tournament Team selection and finished with 67 points (37 goals, 30 assists) and a plus-27 rating in 102 career games with the Gophers.

Originally selected by the Avalanche in the third round (78th overall) of the 2018 NHL Draft, Ranta was part of the Finland’s gold-medal entry at the 2018 IIHF Under-18 World Championship, notching two points (goal, assist) in seven games. He helped his country to a fourth-place finish at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship, recording two assists in seven games.