New York Islanders fans looking for a break and distraction from Nazem Kadri rumors had the opportunity to watch their top prospect and the World Junior Championships on Tuesday night as Aatu Räty and Finland started their tournament with a 6-1 win over Latvia at Rogers Place in Toronto.
Raty did not disappoint, scoring a goal and adding three assists in the lopsided win. After scoring 41 points in 40 games with Jukurit and earning playoff experience with the Bridgeport Islanders, the 19-year-old Raty held the second-best odds to be the highest goal and point producer in the tourament.
The goal came with 4:21 left to play and gave Finland a 5-1 lead.
Raty centered Finland's top line with Joakim Kemell and captain Roni Hirvonen. The trio opened up the scoring, with Raty earning the primary assist on Kemell's goal. It was the 2021 second-round pick's first World Juniors point since December 29th, 2019, vs. Kazakhstan. Raty made the team at age 17 but then missed the cut the following year.
Kemell, the Nashville Predators' first-round pick (17th overall) in June, scored again later in the first and added two assists, while Hirvonen, a 2020 second-round pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs, contributed a goal and two assists. The line is expected to be formidable all tournament.
For the Finns, they are trying to win the World Juniors for the sixth time, having last won the tournament in 2019. They took home bronze at the 2021 tournament in Edmonton. Latvian is making their first appearance since 2009, having replaced the disqualified Russian team.
Aatu Räty and Finland next take the ice against Czechia on Thursday.
Face-off is at 6 PM.