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Colorado Avalanche Top 25 Under 25: #15 Sampo Ranta

The Finnish forward left for the Swedish Elite League, but Colorado still retains his rights

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Mile High Hockey staff. Five writers have ranked players under the age of 25 in the Colorado Avalanche organization as of July 1, 2023. Now, we’ll count down each of the 25 players ranked.

When Sampo Ranta, a 2018 3rd round pick who looked the part of a future NHL third line winger throughout his college career, left the Avalanche organization for Modo in the Swedish Hockey League last May, it raised a number of questions - Did Ranta get enough opportunity to succeed? Were there problems between him and other Eagles/Avs? Are the Avalanche truly incapable of developing depth forwards?

In the aftermath we didn’t get clear answers to those questions - the man known as Rambo Santa was given NHL games, including a NHL debut in the 2021 second round playoff series against Vegas, but maybe not enough and maybe too soon. His former teammates seem to have nothing but good things to say about him, and until we see if other promising forwards can make the leap to the big leagues it’s too soon to judge the current development staff on that front (though recent history is not promising).

Ultimately, though, Sampo Ranta’s Avalanche story is that of a typical 3rd round prospect - he showed some flashes, got some chances, and just couldn’t turn those into an NHL job.

That’s who he could have been - a high motor, big frame net front guy with enough skill to play at a point per game pace as a college junior, but Ranta simply wasn’t able to be that guy consistently in the minors or at all in the bigs. Though he was also relegated to a bottom six role even in the AHL to learn “role acceptance”.

The Avalanche will retain his rights until 2027 when Ranta is 27, so if he does find his footing as a pro in Sweden he could come back and contribute as either a player or a low-value trade piece. More than likely, however, Ranta’s North American hockey saga has come to an end.