At 18-years-old and in your first NHL training camp, it’s not a bad thing when your head coach compares you to Zach Parise. So Aatu Raty must have been pretty pleased when New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz did just that on Tuesday when talking about the team’s second-round pick in this year’s draft.
No, Raty won’t be sticking around in the NHL this season, but the young forward is off to a pretty good start with his new team. Since the start of training camp, Raty has created plenty of buzz around how hard he’s worked and what he’s been able to do.
“We wanted to get a good handle of the person and the player, in that order actually,” Islanders head coach Trotz said about Raty before their 3-2 overtime win on Tuesday. “The person is good. We’re really impressed with the person and his game has lots of substance. He’s on pucks, he’s learned. He plays with a lot of joy in his game and he’s not scared of the moment, which is really good for a young player. There’s a lot to like about him.”
Aatu Raty may be impressing his new coach and teammates, but he will head back to his Finnish team at some point before the season starts. The idea was for Raty to come to North America to work with the Islanders before going back to play for Kärpät in the Finnish Liiga.
So far he has taken full advantage of the opportunities he’s been given. Raty appeared in the Islanders’ first two preseason games, playing with Kieffer Bellows and Leo Komarov in the first game and centering a line with Kyle Palmieri and Anthony Beauvillier on Tuesday.
Against the Philadelphia Flyers, Raty played 15:17 and even saw 2:26 of power play time. It was more than enough time to win over some of his future teammates.
“Really good player. He understands the game well,” said Beauvillir, who scored the winning goal on Tuesday 22 seconds into overtime. “Always in good position. Obviously a lot of skills, a lot of poise. It’s kind of rare to see a young guy have that much poise, especially in his first two preseason games in the NHL. I really enjoyed playing with him tonight and obviously he made a lot of good plays.
“He was definitely noticeable.”
Aatu Raty will get at least a few more days of work with the Islanders before he ends up back overseas. The Islanders aren’t expecting to make cuts to the training camp roster just yet.
Trotz told reporters after the game that they may start to trim the roster down closer towards the weekend.
“We’ll talk about that,” Trotz said after the game. “We’ve got to plan for the next day or two here. … We know what we want to do. Things that we want to work on. We want to get the special teams, some of the special situations. We’re going to start working on that and that may dictate where we go in terms of the next two or three days.”
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