The 2022 IIHF World Championships were set to be in January of this year before Covid got in the way of yet another thing. The NY Islanders weren't exactly well represented when tournament rosters were initially announced, however, the postponed tournament worked out in their favor. Aatu Räty and William Dufour were not selected to represent their countries the first time around, however, the two Islander prospects now forced their way onto the rosters. Matias Rajaniemi and Eetu Liukas are also participating in the tournament.
The trio of Räty, Liukas, and Rajaniemi are all representing Team Finland. Räty has been centering Finland's first line accompanied by Roni Hirvonen, drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round of the 2020 NHL Draft, and Joakim Kemell, drafted by the Nashville Predators in the first round in 2022. Räty appears primed to have a big tournament as Finland's first-line center, already tallying three goals in two pre-tournament games. Liukas has been serving as their fourth-line left-wing and Rajaniemi appears to be their seventh defenseman.
After being left off of Finland's roster a few months ago, Räty is feeling refreshed and looking forward to tournament play:
" I've had a break from World Cup tournaments for a couple of years, so it's really nice to be able to play myself. It was really fun at the 2020 Games in the Czech Republic."- Aatu Räty
Dufour burst onto the scene this past season earning accolade after accolade. His latest was claiming a roster spot on Team Canada after not making the team back in December. The Athletic's Scott Wheeler projects Dufour to play on Canada's third line, centered by Ridly Greig, drafted in 2020 by the Ottawa Senators in the first-round, and flanked by Joshua Roy, a fifth-round pick by the Montreal Canadians in 2021. Roy significantly rose his stock after scoring 51 goals and 119 points, leading QMJHL in points with Dufour coming in a close second.
Both Canada and Finland play their first matchup against Latvia, Finland playing on August 9th, and Canada playing on August 10th.