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Aatu Räty Kicks Off World Junior Championships with a Bang



New York Islanders, Aatu Räty
New York Islanders prospect Aatu Räty celebrating Team Finlands fourth goal against Latvia on Aug. 9.

The World Junior Championships kicked off Tuesday, with three games on the schedule. The New York Islanders had one prospect in action, as 19-year-old Aatu Räty skated on the top line for Team Finland in their match against Latvia.

On Aatu Räty’s line was Roni Hirvonen, the 59th overall pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2020, and Joakin Kemell, the 17th overall pick by the Nashville Predators at the 2022 NHL Draft.

Finland defeated Latvia 6-1.

Read up on the performance of Aatu Räty:


After one period of play, Aatu Räty had already found the scoresheet as he notched the primary assist on Joakin Kemell’s opening goal at 8:54 of the first period.

Räty went for a quick give-and-go with Kemell from the high slot, but when Kemell tried to feed the puck back to Räty at the far, blocker side post. However, the pass attempt deflected off the Latvian defender and past Latvian netminder Bruno Bruveris.

Kemell added his second goal of the contest a few minutes later on an odd-man rush. Räty was the high guy on the rush but did not factor into the goal.

Räty, after receiving a pass on his forehand in the slot, quickly chipped the puck to Kemell on the backhand, but Kemell shot the puck over the net on a glorious opportunity.

In the first period, Räty played 5:13 minutes with one shot on goal. That one shot came early in the opening frame, as he let a wrist shot go from the slot, but the chance was denied.

READ MORE: Are the Islanders Moving to Plan B to Fit Nazem Kadri?

One thing that stood out from Räty’s first period was that he did not try to do too much.

If he saw a teammate open, he dished the puck off. He was positionally sound, which allowed him to be effective and an option for his teammates.


In the middle frame, Räty played 6:07 minutes, did not register a shot but did notch his second point of the contest.

Aatu Räty recorded his second primary assist of the contest on a late power-play chance. His quick pass from the slot on the power play set up linemate Roni Hirvonen, who made a strong move towards goal before he tucked in the puck on the backhand to give Finland a 4-0 lead.

There was no video replay of Roni Hirvonen’s goal.

We did not see too much creativity from Räty in the opening twenty, but he showed off his confidence in period two.

Although the move did not work, Räty tried to tuck the puck between his legs and get around a defenseman on the right-side boards, but the defenseman made a strong play to knock Räty off the puck.

Räty used his stick a couple of times to deflect Latvian passes.

One deflection came in the Latvian zone on an outlet pass, which led to a prime scoring chance for Finland.

Upon deflecting the pass, which led to an odd-man opportunity, Räty (lefty) immediately made himself a passing option as he approached the glove side post.

One other thing that was apparent in the middle frame is that Räty has no problem being a net-front presence. Räty, who stands at 6’2, 187 lbs, easily won the net battle and seemed to deflect a shot or at least tried to get a piece of a point shot.


Aatu Räty entered the third period with two assists and just one shot but got his goal later in the third period.

After receiving the pass from Aleks Heimosalmi as he crossed over the Latvian blue line, Räty made no mistake with his shot from inside the left circle as he beat Latvian netminder Bruno Bruveris blocker side with under five minutes to play to give Finland a 5-1 lead.

IIHF did not post his goal, but an Islanders fan did.

That was Räty’s third point of the contest.

Räty would add a third assist, a secondary assist on Finland’s sixth goal of the contest.

Räty had not been very physical throughout the first forty minutes but laid his first hit of the contest early in the third period. It was a strong hit behind the Latvian net, but what led to the turnover was the pressure of Räty, as the defenseman quickly got rid of the puck–the puck going right to Roni Hirvonen.

On what was believed to be a goal by Topi Niemela with over seven minutes to play in the third, Räty would not have been credited with an assist but did the little things to help create the chance.

After review, the shot had hit the post but never crossed the goal line.

Räty was battling in front while Hirvonen held the puck behind the Latvian net. Räty moved from the glove-side post to the blocker-side post and as he did that, the defenseman paid attention to him and that provided more space for Niemela to get off his shot. 
The 19-year-old only played 3:48 minutes in the third period, with one shot on goal, but made the most of his ice time.

Final Thoughts

We saw it all from Aatu Räty in the first game of the tournament.

In 15:08 total minutes (23 shifts), Räty recorded two shot on goal, two primary assists, one secondary assist a hit or two, and more than a handful of strong passes.

He also was a plus 4.

Although face-off stats were not recorded, Räty definitely lost more than he won, something to watch as the tournament continues.

This result and performance should be taken with a grain of salt as Latvia is only participating in the tournament because Russia was not allowed to participate.

Nevertheless, Räty showed that simplicity has it’s benefits and there’s no doubt that that mentality will benefit him against any opponent.

Aatu Räty and Finland are back in action on Thursday at 6 PM against Czechia.

Aatu Räty was drafted 52nd overall in the 2021 NHL Draft by the New York Islanders, a player who could end up being the steal of that draft. He played just two regular season games for the Bridgeport Islanders before playing a big role in Bridgeport advancing to the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2003. Räty, unless he makes the Islanders out of training camp, will be in Bridgeport to start the 2022-23 season. 


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