Prospect Weekly: Sampo Ranta’s dominant weekend

When you’re hot, you’re hot.

And that describes Sampo Ranta’s performance in a pair of games from the past weekend totaling three goals and an assist. On the back of Ranta’s contributions Minnesota destroyed visiting Ohio State, who was the #6 ranked team in the country prior to the weekend, with a pair of dominant wins.

The party started Friday in a 6-3 victory where Ranta converted on this sharp angle shot seen below, which this wasn’t the first time he’s surprised goaltenders with his quick shot and heavy release. Ranta also added an empty net goal for his second score of the night plus other eye popping box score stats such as nine shots on goal out of the team’s 28 total and he was a team high +5 earning him first star of the game.

For Ranta’s assist of the series it came in the second night of this back-to-back set with Ohio State as he shovels this quick pass to Brannon McManus who deflects the puck into the net, seen below. Ranta made several high quality passes which could have resulted in goals in this contest as he is really beginning to take advantage of his size and speed in combination with the skill he possesses. He is also embracing the role of power forward by making plays in the center of the ice and also driving to the net.

As an interesting wrinkle Ranta has been quarterbacking the second power play unit from below the goal line. However special teams did not come into play during this weekend as all of Ranta’s points were at even strength such as on this his third goal in the set of games. The highlight below doesn’t show Ranta gaining the offensive zone for a chance just prior to this play where he finishes off a three-on-one to extend the Minnesota lead in an eventual 4-1 win. Ranta again filled the box score with six shots on goal and was named second star of the game.

In the two games combined Ranta produced 15 shots on goal and was a +7 in addition to the four points. For his efforts Ranta was named Big 10 conference second star of the week along side his linemate McManus, Ben Meyers also completes the formidable trio. This was Ranta’s second star of the week honors although it has been a while as he received third star in October of 2018.

The question of Ranta’s transition to professional hockey will get louder as the end of the season approaches and the opportunity for him to perhaps sign with the Colorado Avalanche. If he keeps this type of performance up over the second half it would seem natural for Ranta to move on from college hockey. The only hesitation would be a lack of developmental plan the Avalanche have for 20-year olds even with several years of college experience. It would be a damn shame to see Ranta wasting away on the fourth line with the Colorado Eagles this time next year with no callup in sight. Getting the timing right is especially crucial in Ranta’s case because he is a special talent.

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Credit Minnesota Golden Gophers for the photo

queenjk

Aka tigervixxxen, prospect junkie.

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