Per a source close to the situation, Colorado Avalanche forward prospects Alex Newhook and Sampo Ranta could make their pro debuts with the AHL Colorado Eagles this weekend, barring any issues with immigration.
According to the same source, Sampo Ranta has cleared already and “could potentially be in.”
The Eagles and Avs still await word on immigration to be finalized and approved for Alex Newhook.
While both Newhook and Ranta have been playing in the states for the last couple of years, immigration is still necessary because the visas are different for college versus the one required to work—and play—pro hockey.
Newhook, the 16th-overall choice in the 2019 NHL Draft, signed his three-year entry-level contract with the Avalanche on March 31. The 20-year-old spent two seasons at Boston College, where he recorded 19 goals and 42 points in 34 games as a freshman in 2019, winning the Tim Taylor Award as the “most outstanding freshman” in NCAA Division I.
This past season, his sophomore campaign, Newhook dealt with an injury he sustained in the World Junior Championship and played in just 12 games, still managing seven goals and 16 points in his limited sophomore season.
He tallied three goals and six points in six games with the silver-medal winning Team Canada at the 2021 World Junior Championship.
Sampo Ranta was the third-round pick (78th overall) of the Avalanche in the 2018 draft. He spent the last three years in the NCAA with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Ranta signed his three-year ELC with the Avs on April 3.
Ranta, who will turn 21 next month, is coming off his best collegiate campaign, scoring 19 goals and 31 points in 31 games as a junior. His 19 goals was the second-best in the nation this year.
Since both Alex Newhook and Ranta are 20 years old, the Avalanche can’t let the their first year “slide.” Both rookies will burn their first year of their contract.
If Newhook’s papers clear in time, he’ll report to the Eagles immediately and could make his pro debut on Saturday, as the Eagles welcome the Texas Stars to Loveland. Since Ranta has already cleared, it seems a lock that he’ll be in the lineup.
Colorado Hockey Now will continue to provide updates on the situation as they become known.