In NY Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello's first and only press conference of the summer, we learned that he's uncharacteristically kept the door open for one of the Isles young prospects to compete for a roster spot with the varsity squad. When asked about the plan for Aatu Räty for this upcoming season, the Islanders GM explained that he's "ticketed" for the AHL Bridgeport Islanders, however, with a strong showing in training camp "he'll have an opportunity."
After a strong 2021-22 in which Räty was just about a point per game with Mikkelin Jukurit in Liiga, showed significant promise in his first short stint with Bridgeport, and a strong showing at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championships, all Bovada Sportsbook needed to hear was that the door was open to plug the Islanders top prospect into the betting odds to win the Calder Trophy.
Traditionally, Lamoriello doesn't often rely on youth nor give the opportunity for such a young player to crack an NHL lineup on one of his teams. That's part of the reason why Räty's odds are relatively low at +1200 to win the Calder trailing nine other rookies such as Mason McTavish, William Eklund, and 2022 first overall selection, Juraj Slafkovsky. And if you look at the competition such as the previously mentioned names, the competition is pretty high, although there's something to be said about Räty who is mentioned in the same breath as other top prospects, and he'll be attending the NHLPA Rookie Showcase with a handful of these players on September 6th.
And finally, the obvious reason Räty received such low odds is that the odds of him even cracking the NHL lineup are also pretty low. The Islanders' forward group is pretty packed and it's unlikely he's going to bench veterans like Zach Parise or Josh Bailey, and the Islanders need to see what they have in young guys like Oliver Wahlstrom and Kieffer Bellows as Lane Lambert is hoping to develop those two into impactful NHLers.
The low odds aren't a slight to Räty's game. In fact, being on that list to begin with says a lot about the type of player the Islanders drafted 52nd overall in the 2021 NHL Draft. There's an outside chance Räty cracks the lineup, and if he does, maybe his odds get higher.
Training camp opens on September 21st for the Islanders. Räty will have lots of eyes on him as one of the younger players the Islanders and their fans are excited about with high expectations. Either way, it's an exciting year to follow the Islanders' top prospect, whether it's with the varsity or Jr. varsity squad.