2016-17 Team: Sioux City Musketeers (#8)
Date of Birth: May 31, 2000
Place of Birth: Naantali, Finland
Ht: 6’2” Wt: 192 lbs.
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2018 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 18th (among NA Skaters)
- Future Considerations: 58th
- Bob McKenzie: 42nd
- Craig Button: 73rd
After growing up and playing hockey overseas in both Finland and Austria, Sampo Fanta made the jump to North America in 2016-17 when he joined the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL. He had a rough showing in his first season with just nine points in 30 games for the Musketeers, but held his own at the U17 tournament with Finland where he tallied four points in six games.
While his Musketeers didn’t have the best of seasons this past year, Ranta stepped up his game on an individual level. He racked up 23 goals and 37 points in 53 games for Sioux City and finished second on the team in scoring behind Cole Koepke (39).
He has the ability to play in all situations and protects the puck well upon entering the offensive zone. While he’s clearly more of a goal-scorer, he has been known to make some incredibly precise passes at times. But his strong areas are, by far, his skating and his willingness to battle for the puck.
While he can score, his shot isn’t anything overly special, but he knows where to put it to get it past opposing goalies. While he will need to work on his defensive game, he’ll have lots of time to do that as he’s already committed to playing at the University of Wisconsin in the NCAA next season.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Sampo Ranta – NHL Draft Projection
He has the size to cut it as an NHLer and the skill is there from what we’ve seen in Sioux City, but it’s not enough to bump him into the first round of this year’s NHL Draft. But it could be enough to see the almost 18-year-old climb into the second round. Realistically, he should hear his name called either in the later part of the second round or early into the third.
“Ranta’s not huge at 6-01, 192 [pounds] but the Finnish-born wing possesses a hard and heavy shot along with excellent skating skill. He’s slated to attend the University of Wisconsin next year. UW Badgers’ assistant coach Mark Osiecki describes him as a growing ‘power forward who is strong over the puck and has a good hockey IQ.’ His recent development has seen him rise from a previous ‘B’ Central Scouting ranking to his current ‘A’.” – Kevin Wickersham/Dobber Prospects
“There’s a lot of guys who can skate fast, but there’s a big difference between guys who can skate fast and make plays at that pace with the puck. If you watch a NHL game you see a player like Connor McDavid. He skates fast, but is just as fast, if not faster, with the puck. He plays the game at a high pace. I think that is something that Sampo does from when we’ve played against him.” – Anthony Noreen/Tri-City Storm head coach
- Willingness to battle
- Play at a high pace
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Defensive zone coverage
It’s tough to really say how Ranta will turn out down the road, but he could be on the right track by taking a year at the University of Wisconsin. He only has a few holes in his game that, if filled, can really take him to the next level. That said, he should be able to crack an NHL roster down the road, but it might be more in a top-nine role rather than a top-six.
Risk – 3/5, Reward – 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 7/10 Defence – 6/10
While he’s played for his country on numerous occasions already, this past year might’ve been the most notable for the young Finnish winger. At the U18 World Junior Championship, Ranta tallied just two points in seven games for Finland, but helped the team on their way to winning the tournament’s gold medal.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.