Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2021 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we bring you our Aatu Raty Scouting Report.
When the 2020-21 season began, many were projecting Aatu Raty as the first overall selection in the 2021 NHL Draft. However, Raty really struggled to start the year and questions were raised about his potential. He got better as the season went on though. Raty put up just three goals and three assists in 33 games for Karpat in the SM Liiga, playing against men in Finland’s top men’s league. However, the 17-year-old was much better when facing opponents his age. He scored three goals and seven points in eight games in the Finnish Under-20 league.
In 2019-20 Raty scored two goals and four points in 12 games in the SM Liiga. He also added two goals and 21 points in 30 games in the Finnish Under-20 league. He had nine points in nine games playing in exhibition tournaments with Finland’s Under-18 team and even made the World Junior Squad as the youngest player in the tournament. As a 17-year old, he scored two goals and three points in the seven-game tournament against the best under-20 players in the world. He also had four points in three games at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup.
Aatu Raty Scouting Report
Centre/Left Wing — shoots Left
Born November 14th, 2002 — Oulunsalo, Finland
Height 6’1″ — Weight 181 lbs [185 cm / 82 kg]
Raty is a good but not great skater. He can get around the ice well enough and keeps up with the play but he is not going to beat opponents purely on his footwork. His first few steps are good, and his acceleration is decent. His top-end speed is also good but does not challenge the best players in the draft. The best aspect of Raty’s skating is his agility and edgework. He has very good lateral movement. This allows him to get by defenders, both on the rush and in the offensive zone. When facing his own age group, he is strong on his skates with the ability to battle through checks and keep going. He also wins battles on the boards and in front of the net. However, he must get stronger to face men.
Raty is much more of a playmaker than a scorer. His hands are outstanding. He can stickhandle in a phone booth and uses that ability to beat defenders on the rush as well as to create opportunities in the offensive zone. He is also able to protect the puck in the cycle game, extending plays and giving his teammates the opportunity to get open. When they do, he has the vision and passing skills to pass the puck through tight areas and create scoring chances. Raty also has a powerful shot and a quick release.
Raty needs to be better at getting to the middle of the ice though. He plays a bit too much of a perimeter game and this hurts his scoring potential. While his shot is powerful, it often comes from the outside, making it easier for goalies to stop. If he can get those shots off from between the faceoff dots, he will create more offence. While he does this well against other teenagers, he needs to do it more often when playing against men. Raty should be better at battling through those dirty areas as he becomes stronger and more confident.
Raty shows that he is willing to play a more physical game in the defensive zone. He works hard to support the defence down low and keep opponents to the outside. His positioning is strong, keeping his body between his man and the net and using his stick to cut down passing lanes. A smart player, Raty reads the play well and anticipates the plays opponents will try. This helps him to create turnovers. When he does get control of the puck, he is able to quickly transition the puck up the ice. Raty is willing to battle for loose pucks in the defensive and neutral zones. He also does a decent job in the faceoff circle.
Projection and Comparison
The questions about Raty’s offensive game have made it more likely that he will become a second-line centre than carry a franchise. However, this is still valuable. This is even more true when one considers that Raty’s strong defensive game can continue to grow and he could be used against the other team’s best players and on the penalty kill. The franchise that drafts him will need to have patience and need to work with Raty in taking the puck to the middle of the ice. He should be back in Finland next year and on the Finnish World Junior team, looking for redemption after being left off this year’s squad. When he’s at his best, Raty is comparable to Nazem Kadri, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Aatu Raty that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for our next NHL Draft Article.
Aatu Raty Scouting Report Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images
OSTRAVA, CZECH REPUBLIC – JANUARY 4, 2020: Canada’s Aidan Dudas (L) and Finland’s Aatu Raty in their 2020 World Junior Ice Hockey Championship semifinal match at Ostravar Arena. Peter Kovalev/TASS (Photo by Peter KovalevTASS via Getty Images)