There was some confusion amongst NY Islanders nation when Aatu Räty took part in the teams morning skate on Thursday morning after it appeared he had been reassigned to the AHL Bridgeport Islanders in a series of roster cuts on Wednesday. The fact of the matter is the Islanders are dealing with a few injuries, and that's what kept Räty and Simon Holmstrom up in the NHL a little longer than anticipated. With a second chance opportunity, the 19-year-old center gave a strong performance in Thursday nights preseason contest against the New Jersey Devils.
Räty slotted on the Islanders third line, centered between Holmstrom and Nikita Soshnikov. It was a bit of a new look this preseason with some regulards unavailable such as Casey Cizikas and Oliver Wahlstrom. The Islanders got off to a slow start when the Devils took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Ryan Graves. The Islanders fought back to take the lead after the opening 20 minutes, but for Räty, things almost took a turn for the worse.
A powerful shot by Alexander Romanov caught Räty on the leg, leaving him unable to apply pressure and he had to be helped off the ice by a trainer. However, Räty returned soon after and it was all uphill from there. Räty ended the contest with two points (one goal, one assits) and ended the contest as the Islanders topm player according to HockeyStatCards:
"He certainly played well. He came in and did what he had to do on short notice, and credit to him."- Lane Lambert
In Räty's mind on Wednesday morning, he was Bridgeport-bound for the remainder of preseason. According to the Finnish prospect, the day off from the ice did him some good.
"Kind of weird, I missed practice yesterday because I was supposed to travel to Bridgeport, but I felt good today, I guess the day off was good. I was definitely happy that went in. That was probably my first shot on goal in three days."- Aatu Räty
Räty's assist registers as a secondary one, moving the puck to the point from deep in the Devils zone, and Paul LaDue's shot from the point was redirected past Mackenzie Blackwood by Ross Johnston. It was a simple play, but the right play and a positive for the young centerman proving his hockey IQ succeeds his age.
What was more impresseive was the howitzer that beat Blackwood glove-side in the third period to give the Islanders some insurance in the third period, Räty's first goal of the preseason.
It remains to be seen if this means anything as far as Räty making the team out of camp. The health of the team will certainly have some say in whether or not he sticks around, however, it's likely the New York Rangers ice their roster they anticipate to go forward with in the regular season and another strong performance like that could give Isles head coach Lane Lambert something to thing about.