He just kept falling. That was the story of Aatu Räty’s 2021 NHL draft. Two years before the 2021 draft, Räty was seen as a possible first overall pick. But by the time of his draft, Räty fell all the way to the middle of the second round and into the hands of the New York Islanders with the 52 overall pick.
Immediately after being drafted, the young Finnish center went off with 14 points in six games at the World Junior Summer Showcase. The Räty revenge tour was off.
Now that he’s under the direct eyes of the Islanders organization (at least until camp is over), how do they feel about the youngster?
Trotz says Räty was a “great pick” by New York Islanders scouts
Remember, one of my five questions as the Isles entered training camp, was: “How does Aatu Räty look at camp?” And specifically, how does management and the coaching staff feel about the second-rounder that should have been a first-rounder.
On day 3 of camp, we got our first report card from Trotz on Räty, and well it was pretty good:
There’s a lot to like about that quote. From the Parise comparison to the “real good motor” byte. But the two that I like the most are the note on his maturity and the praise to the scouting staff. Remember, Räty is only 18 years old (he turns 19 in November), and one of the big reasons for his fall was where he was mentally last year.
Things weren’t going well for him at all. Once he hit the pros in Finland his production dried up, the ice time was way down, and the joy of the game started to wane for Räty. Having Trotz praise him for his maturity first is a great sign for where Räty is mentally at the moment.
His maturity is shining and from what he’s told me, camp is going well and he’s having fun. There’s zero stress for Räty. A zero-stress Räty is the best Räty. Which is what’s on display for the Islanders at camp.
Then you have the praise to the scouts who pushed to get Räty with the Isles first pick at the draft. Twenty-seven teams decided to pass on Räty, the Isles would not be the 28th. While it’s still too early to say the scouts got an absolute steal with the 52nd overall pick, but so far it looks very promising.
If you aren’t already paying close attention to Aatu Räty’s development I suggest you do so. Because this pick could be the team’s top prospect by the end of the season.
And if he works out to be a top-six center, like he’s projected to be, or becomes a Parise-type player, the Isles not only got the steal of the draft but he could be the biggest steal over the last few drafts.