BSH 2021 Community Draft Board, No. 9: Aatu Räty

The Flyers could really use Finnish dudes, even if this one is possibly the Finnish Nolan Patrick.

Aatu Räty is a prospect that falls at No. 9 here on our big board, which might end up being the top end of where he could fall in the actual draft later this summer.

Räty’s name has been on the scouting communities mind for a few years now — and at one point even looked like sure-fire top-five pick just a few seasons ago, with mentions along the likes of his Finnish countrymen Mikko Rantanen and Aleksander Barkov depending on who you talked to.

But that stand-out 2018-19 season (.75 points per game) is firmly in the rearview mirror as Räty has seen his production decrease in each of the past few seasons — albeit coinciding with a rise in competition up from U20— and his draft stock has fallen as well.

Despite the point production fall (21 points in 20 U20 games in 2019-20 to just six points in 25 Liga games in 2020-21), there’s a 6-foot-1, 180 plus-pound pivot that has good skill and playmaking ability though perhaps not the upside that was once thought, at least offensively.

BSH 2021 Community Draft Board, No. X: Aatu Raty

2020-21 Season:

Team: Kärpät U20 and Kärpät (Liiga)

Statistics: 3 G, 4 A in 7 GP (Karpat U20) and 3 G, 3 A in 35 GP (Liiga)

Pre-Draft Rankings

No. 3 (EU skaters) by NHL Central Scouting

No. 19  by Future Considerations

No. 11 by Dobber Prospects

No. 14 by Wheeler/The Athletic (midseason)

What’s there to like?

Räty is a center with good size, good staking ability, good hands and finishing ability to boot. He’s also generally strong along the boards and has shown a willingness to drive the center lane and get into the danger areas on both ends of the ice to impact both offensively and defensively. He really does just about everything well and has creativity in the offensive zone when the puck is on his stick.

There’s a lot to like in terms of what you can see in spurts, but the story lies in the progression and consistency.

What’s not to like?

As with most young prospects, the not to like here mainly lies in the inconsistent nature of Räty’s play the last few seasons.

While an effective and efficient player in 2018-19, that also seems to be his maxed output leading up to his draft year. Playing against lower competition he was at his best and hasn’t been able to put it all together in his time in Liiga last season.

His scoring kept pace while in U20 but dropped off a cliff last year with the jump up. The fine folks at Dobber Prospects have a fine hypothesis that Räty’s production has dropped to coincide a drop in high-danger chances over the last two years. InState Hockey had the Finnish pivot registered with 38 high-danger chances in 2018-19 and just 28 in the past two season combined.

As Räty’s presence in the meaty areas around the net dwindled, so has his production — with his 2019-20 output likely being buoyed by the level of competition he had nearly grown out of. Räty’s perimeter drift isn’t great news for a center than should be living in those areas as the good ones do. In fact, Räty’s unwillingness to get to the dirty areas reminds me a lot of current — as of this writing — Flyer Nolan Patrick, who has largely played a perimeter game since breaking in the NHL.

Raty still has the tools to be an effective NHL player, but he’s got to get back to going where the money is made or else he’ll fade into the distance and his ceiling will be more of a top-nine forward rather than a frontline presence.

How would he fit in the Flyers’ system?

Well he’s a center, so that’s never a bad thing — and the Flyers’ organizational depth isn’t as deep as it once was down the middle. That said, his game the last two years doesn’t scream NHL-ready and the Flyers have already spent ample time waiting on more project guys like German Rubstov and others down the middle in recent years.

As the Flyers have loaded up defense, there’s a good chance that GM Chuck Fletcher looks to get offensive again with his first-round pick and Raty would give the organization a nice project with medium upside to take top of the draft shot at — and the positional value can’t be ignored either.

Could the Flyers actually get him?

At this rate in his draft slide progression — maybe?. Once considered a shoe-in as a top-10 pick, Räty’s stock has continued to dip in recent years and pushes him towards the teens as other prospects have put up numbers and jumped the talented but enigmatic Finnish pivot.

We’ll make one addition to the poll:

Cole Sillinger— C, Sioux Falls Stampede

Sillinger went to the USHL with the WHL’s delayed start where he was one of the league’s best forwards. Sillinger is a smart player, who can make seam passes consistently and make creative plays due to his great hands and offensive IQ. He can play on the perimeter due to his vision and a great one-timer/wrist shot combo, which he gets off with velocity and accuracy. He can also play inside. He wins battles, gets to the net, is reliable defensively and doesn’t shy from playing physically. His skating is an area of concern, with a heavy stride. He likely won’t be able to drive entries at the top level. In a sentence, Sillinger projects as a top-six NHL forward, whether at center or the wing, who will bring scoring and physicality elements to a lineup. — Corey Pronman, The Athletic

Who should be no. 10 on the 2021 BSH Community Draft Board?

Jesper Wallstedt13
Mason McTavish17
Chaz Lucius0
Cole Sillinger6

2021 BSH Community Draft Board

  1. Owen Power — D, University of Michigan (NCAA)
  2. Matthew Beniers — C, University of Michigan (NCAA)
  3. Brandt Clarke — D, Nove Zamky (Slovakia)
  4. Dylan Guenther — LW/RW, Edmonton (WHL)
  5. William Eklund — C/LW, Djurgårdens IF (SHL)
  6. Luke Hughes — D, US NTDP (USHL) and US National U18 (USDP)
  7. Simon Edvinsson — D, Frölunda HC J20 / J20 Nationell - 21/22
  8. Kent Johnson — D, University of Michigan (NCAA)