The Sioux City Musketeers, members of the United States Hockey League, announced today that they have signed forward Sampo Ranta from EC Salzburg (RBHRC U18) to a tender for the 2016-17 season. Ranta, a native of Naantali, FIN, is Sioux City’s first and final tender this season, and will take the place of the Musketeer’s USHL Phase I Draft second round pick. Ranta is the eighth player to sign a tender with a USHL team this season. Eight players signed tender contracts last season.
A tender contract allows USHL clubs to sign a player directly to their team for next season in exchange for their first or second round pick in the USHL Phase I Draft.
“We are happy that Sampo is joining the Musketeers organization to pursue his career opportunities in North America,” said Sioux City head coach Jay Varady.
Ranta recently completed his first season with EC Salzburg U18, scoring 29 points in 19 games, including 20 goals. The forward finished third in team scoring behind fellow 2000 USHL Phase I Draft eligible forward Ryan Savage.
Ranta marks the third tender in Musketeers team history behind New York Rangers prospect Ryan Mantha and Eeli Tolvanen, a top prospect for the 2017 NHL Draft.
When asked about his hockey development, Ranta noted that maintaining his college eligibility was a personal priority.
“I want to go to college and finish my school,” said Ranta. “I think USHL is a terrific league and it’s a good opportunity to go to college.”
When asked about playing with fellow Finnish forward Tolvanen next season Ranta was excited.
“Oh yeah. I’ve played against him a couple of times and he’s a really good player, and really smart,” said Ranta. “He can do great plays and he’s a really good goal-scorer. I’m a pretty similar style where I like to skate and set myself up for goals.”
Ranta was able to visit Sioux City, IA and the Musketeers organization three weeks ago and looks forward to living in the United States with a billet family next season.
“I really like Sioux City,” Ranta said. “I think it’s a good organization with good coaches and think the players are good guys. A couple of my friends play in the USHL so that’s when I heard about it first. They all have good things to say about the team.”
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 14th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2015-16. A record 37 players were chosen in the 2015 NHL Draft and more than 375 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.