Sampo Ranta, 19, was selected by the Colorado Avalanche at No. 78 overall in the third round of the 2018 NHL Draft. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound forward spent the 2018-19 season playing for the University of Minnesota in the Big Ten.
Prior to his collegiate debut, the Naantali, Finland, native played in the United States Hockey League with the Sioux City Musketeers for two seasons (2016-18). Ranta tallied 46 points (29 goals and 17 assists) in 83 games while playing for the Musketeers. He also represented his country at the 2018 IIHF U-18 World Championship and won gold with Team Finland, putting up a goal and an assist in seven games.
Ranta recently sat down with ColoradoAvalanche.com to talk about returning to Colorado for his second development camp and his freshman year at Minnesota.
What is your favorite part about development camp?
"I think just to be with the guys again. We have a lot of great guys here, and we play against each other during the year. It's just fun to be here and be together."
What is your favorite thing you have been able to experience in Denver?
"Last year we went to a firehouse at the camp. It was so fun, but really hard. I was loving it."
When did you start playing hockey?
"I actually learned how to skate before I learned how to speak, so I was really young when I started. My dad just put me in skates, and I guess I was loving it."
How was your first year playing in the NCAA with Minnesota?
"It was a great season and I learned a lot from it. Going from the USHL to college, the guys are a lot stronger and bigger--for next year I know what to expect. My highlight moment was a spin-o-rama pass in our game against Notre Dame in January, so that was a pretty cool pass."
Video: Sampo Ranta discusses his season at Avs prospect camp
What are some of your hobbies off the ice?
"I love fishing and playing tennis. I love being outside, so any sort of outdoor activity."
How would you describe your playing style?
"I would say that I am a good skater, with a lot of skill. I am a strong guy too so I can make plays with my skill and body. I like to think I am kind of like Mikko Rantanen, but a little more shooting. He is a great player with a big body too, he is good with the puck."
Who is your favorite player?
"I would have to say Gabriel Landeskog. When I was little I was obsessed with him, watching Landy on T.V., at the Olympics, all of that."
What does it mean to you to be part of the Avalanche organization?
"It's an honor. It is such a great organization and there is such a great group of young guys here that are coming up. They are also getting better all the time. They had a great season this year and last year, so I am excited for it."