Aatu Räty

Height / Weight
6' 0" / 171 lbs
November 14th 2002 (18)
NHL 2021 mock draft
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Player ranking
Year Rank
2021 3

At first looks I was very willing to project Aatu Räty as the front runner to be selected first overall in the 2021 NHL Draft. He's big and strong and has great vision.and play-making skills. He is a natural centre who can play all three positions if necessary. He has versatility, but centre has always been a highly sought after position to fill so teams will look at the fact that Aatu Räty has shown that he already plays the position of centre with a responsible 200 foot two way game. In second and thrid looks, his skating is not as effortless and clean as I noted. There is need for improvemnet. He needs to change directions quicker. When he widens his skating base, he is almost impossible to get off the puck. He did not look out of place in the 8 Nations - Ivan Hlinka Cup tournament, and the Under 20 Four Nations Tournament, he did not look at all our of place, as he plays a power game and he attacks into the offensive zone with physicality and some chippiness and when he doesn’t have the puck on the attack, he supports his linemate that does by finding and filling the empty creases in coverage, where he can provide an outlet for the puck to be sent. It is tough to try and separate the positive qualities…his good hands and high pace of play, the aggressiveness and his quickness to get off shots on net. An excellent stickhandler while on the move, he has soft hands and gets the biscuit to his wingers. Has some chippiness and will get involved while he is in the corners. In the Four Nations, he opened the scoring against Sweden when he cut for the middle ice and used a speeding defender as a screen for his shot. His role as a younger on the Finnish World Junior Under 20 team was smaller, because the veteran players were cast into the top line combinations and on power play, while he was asked to be the 4th line centre man who saw little or no power play time. He was asked to help out on the penalty kill. Even though the competition was older, he wanted the puck his stick, always ready to shoot or make a play. Against Switzerland, he bursted off the boards to behind the Swiss goal and scored on the wraparound at the other post before the play happening. Goes into the corners and along the wall to dig pucks out. His body frame has not filled out and there is room add muscle. He can still add more leg strength and that will add to the strong stop/start burst already in place. And like advanced younger players who are asked to play at higher competition levels with older players (and men with Kärpät Oulu in the top-tier Finnish Liiga), there are times when he seemed to lack the vision to good decisions in his passes when rushed or fatigued. There is no doubt that he is a smart player, and is the man against boys when playing inside his age group. You want to know why he is on top of draft lists? He’s a high paced locomotive who reaches top speed, then makes plays at top speed, as if he is playing at a higher speed than the rest of the ice. There is talk about his skating not being dymanic, but that will come. This past January 2020 in the U-18 Five Nations tournament, he play demonstrated why he is a notch up on most 2021 draft prospects. A rangy pass-first centre, who is a really fine stickhandler and involved forward.

--Bill Placzek--