2020-21 Team: Oulun Karpat (#52)
Date of Birth: Nov. 14, 2002
Place of Birth: Oulunsalo, Finland
Wt: 181 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 3rd
- FC Hockey: 11th
- McKeen’s Hockey: 9th
- Recruit Scouting: 13th
- Dobber Prospects: 11th
- The Hockey Writers (Zator): 12th
- The Hockey Writers (Baracchini): 15th
- The Hockey Writers (Forbes): 10th
In a 2021 Draft where talent seems to lack a little bit in comparison to the 2020 Draft class, Aatu Raty remains one of the most curious cases of any prospect.
The main thing that sets this draft class apart from the others is the fact that there’s no true projected number one pick. Owen Power, Brandt Clarke, and Matthew Beniers come to mind for contenders, and Raty was originally supposed to be among this group of contenders. But a slow start in his second pro season with Oulun Karpat of the SM-Liiga has seen the Finnish centre take a dip in the rankings.
Related: THW 2021 NHL Draft Guide
Raty spent the 2019-20 season splitting time between Karpat’s pro-level team and Karpat’s junior-level team. He put up 21 points in 30 games for Karpat U20 and four points in 12 games in the top league. Being a 17-year-old at the time, this was enough for Finland to give him a look on the fourth-place finishing World Junior team, where he put up three points in seven games. Certainly impressive for the youngest player not only on the team but at the tournament.
Having said that, this year has raised some concerns regarding Raty’s draft stock. He hasn’t taken much of a step forward in his development, currently sitting at five points in 26 games for Karpat. He’s been given a look on the U20 team again and seems to have taken a step forward in that regard with seven points in eight games.
But still, for a once-projected first overall pick and a now-projected top-15 pick, his lack of offensive development in his draft year is a little bit concerning. And what’s even more confusing is the fact that he was left off of the Finnish 2021 World Junior team. Whether Raty just had a terrible selection camp or if there’s a deeper-rooted issue between him and the coaching staff is unknown. Nonetheless, it’s incredibly rare to see a prospect not invited back after making the team the previous year, let alone one of Raty’s calibre.
Even with the struggles in his draft year, Raty’s skill set is not one to overlook. His greatest asset is his skating ability, with the ability to kickstart a play as well as finish it not far behind.
He’s an elite puck handler and also possesses a solid 200-foot game, which isn’t always easy to come by when you’re talking about an offensive centre at his age. He needs to work on his discipline as well as his consistency, but he has all the tools to make him a worthwhile first-round selection for whoever drafts him.
Aatu Raty – 2021 NHL Draft Projection
In my eyes, Raty will be a guaranteed top-20 pick, a likely top-15 pick, and a possible top-10 pick. With the emergence of prospects such as William Eklund and Matthew Coronato, he may slip outside of the top-20, but realistically he could go anywhere between fifth overall and 20th overall.
“After a really disappointing start for the season, Räty has improved his game a lot. Even though his point contribution has been a bit quiet, he has shown a lot of positive things at the Liiga level. Räty is a smart player with a good offensive toolset. He skates well, has good puck skills, and can shoot the puck, so he doesn’t particularly lack any skill but obviously needs to improve everything, like every prospect in the draft. I don’t really see Räty being more than a 2nd or a 3rd line center for an NHL organization, but he could be very good in that role, being a comprehensive 2-way center.” – Eetu Siltanen, Dobber Prospects
- Puck Skills
- Defensive Play
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
At this point, it’s hard to say what Raty’s potential is as an NHLer. He has the tools to become a top-line centre in the NHL, but at the very least, he will be a very good second-line centre.
Risk – 2/5, Reward 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 9/10, Defense 7/10
Raty collected a silver medal at the U17 World Hockey Championships with Team Finland. He also won a championship with Karpat’s U20 team in 2018-19 and was the youngest player at the 2020 World Juniors.