Sam Ruopp


Zehner Saskatchewan

Currently Playing In:






Eligible for draft:









5th round, (129th overall), 2015


179 lbs.

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2010-11: Sam Ruopp played bantam AA hockey with the Balgonie Prairie Storm in Saskatchewan. He was selected by Prince George in the fourth round (76th overall) in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft. 

2011-12: Ruopp played for the Regina Pat Canadians in the Saskatchewan Midget Hockey League. In 41 games he had 10 assists with 44 penalty minutes. The Pat Canadians finished ninth in the SMHL, two points behind Swift Current for the final playoff spot. 

2012-13: Ruopp made his WHL debut in late December — skating in six games with the Prince George Cougars before returning to the Regina Pat Canadians. He had no points nor penalties and was -1 with the Cougars. Ruopp scored 3 goals with 11 assists and 34 penalty minutes in 37 regular season games for the Pat Canadians. Regina finished fourth in the SMHL, advancing to the playoff semifinals before falling to league champion Saskatoon. Ruopp had 2 assists and 4 penalty minutes in eight playoff games.  

2013-14: Ruopp skated in 64 games for Prince George in his first WHL season. He scored 5 goals with 11 assists and was -15 with 55 penalty minutes. The Cougars finished fourth in the B.C. Division, six points behind Tri-City for the final Western Conference playoff spot. Ruopp was ranked 127th amongst North American skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings but was not selected in the 2014 NHL Draft. 

2014-15: Ruopp was named a team captain in his second season with Prince George and was the second-leading scorer amongst defensemen for the Cougars. In 64 regular season games he scored 3 goals with 23 assists for 26 points, one point behind team leader Joseph Carvalho. Ruopp was +3 and led Prince George with 140 penalty minutes. The Cougars finished third in the B.C. Division, falling to Victoria in a first-round playoff series. Ruopp scored 1 goal with 2 assists and was -2 with 4 penalty minutes in five playoff games. In his second year of draft eligibility, he was not among the 210 North American skaters in the Central Scouting rankings when he was selected by Columbus in the fifth round (129th overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft. 

2015-16: Ruopp attended training camp with Columbus before returning to Prince George for his third season with the Cougars. A team captain, he skated in 69 of 72 regular season games for Prince George. Ruopp led the team’s defensemen with 100 penalty minutes and was +23 while scoring 4 goals with 21 assists.  The Cougars finished fourth in the B.C. Division and were swept by Seattle in a first-round playoff series. Ruopp was -6 with no points and 2 penalty minutes in three playoff games, missing the final game of the series after suffering an injury on an illegal hit from fellow Blue Jackets’ prospect Keegan Kolesar.  

Talent Analysis

The Prince George Cougars named Sam Ruopp as their captain after only one year in the WHL, a testament to his leadership abilities and what the organization felt about him. Columbus matched that exuberance by making him a fifth round pick, certainly not a stretch when you consider that Ruopp took major strides in his overall game. Known as a punishing, physical defender willing to take on all comers, Ruopp injected a new-found offensive game while still being a cornerstone piece for the Cougars.


Ruopp was a team captain for Prince George as a 19-year-old in 2015-16. A big throwback-type defenseman who fits the punishing description, he also has some stick handling and playmaking ability. His overall skill set and mobility must improve for him to compete at the NHL level but he has the heart-on-his-sleeve approach to be a lower pairing defenseman and strong locker room presence.

2014 NHL Draft Preview: Forward trio led by Reinhart tops WHL prospects

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Photo: Kootenay Ice forward and 2014 prospect Sam Reinhart is among a trio of CHL players being viewed as a potential first overall selection for the 2014 NHL Draft (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

Here’s a look at our top 10 prospects from the Western Hockey League for the 2014 NHL Draft, with the consensus top five rather apparent. Beyond the first five players, things do indeed get interesting.

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