2021 NHL Draft Profile: Aatu Räty

What will the Chicago Blackhawks do with the 11th overall selection in the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft? That’s a question we’ve started trying to answer over the past week as we have started our annual pre-draft prospect profile series.

Thus far we have discussed forwards Matthew Coronado, Chaz Lucius and Mason McTavish. Now, let’s learn more about Aatu Räty.

Aatu Räty
6-2 / 185
Kärpät (Liiga)

Ranked #20 by TSN/McKenzie
Ranked #3 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (EU Skaters)
Ranked #12 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #19 by FCHOCKEY
Ranked #3 by NEUTRAL ZONE
Ranked #14 by SPORTSNET’S
Ranked #14 by SMAHT SCOUTING

From Corey Pronman (The Athletic)

#19 overall prospect
Skating: Below-average
Puck Skills: Average
Hockey Sense: Average
Compete: Average

“Räty is one of the biggest mysteries I can recall of the last few years watching prospects. He was a go-to player for Finland coming up, as the No. 1 center for a solid U18 age group last season and making Finland’s U20 team a year before his draft, while also playing well versus men. He looked like a high-skill playmaking center with good athletic tools. Then this season came and the offense disappeared. Räty’s game looked so simple between the junior and Liiga levels and he was cut from the U20 team. Various scouts have varying theories. Some think he lacks speed. Some think he lacks hockey sense.

I’ve seen enough over the years to still believe in the player, but it’s fair to say I approach him with a large degree of caution. He has skill in his game. He has quick-twitch hands and is great at handling the puck in small areas. He’s a fine, albeit awkward, skater who makes skilled plays on the move but needs to add more pace to his game. His playmaking and shot are both solid quality, but neither are spectacular. He has some physicality to his game and brings energy to shifts. That’s the Räty I think is there, and may show up in future years, but he didn’t this season. In a sentence, Räty projects as an NHL second-line center after being one of my top-ranked prospects coming into the draft season.”

From Chris Peters’ Hockey Sense

#21 overall prospect
“One of the most polarizing and uncertain prospects in this entire draft, Räty is as confounding as he is intriguing. This year did not go well for him and he’s admitted that the draft season and expectations weighed on him. He was presumed a No. 1 for this class for a few years, but things didn’t go that way this year. While he may no longer be one of the top prospects in this class, I still see a quality prospect with a chance to grow his game even further. He had six points in 35 games in Liiga this season, didn’t make the World Junior team and didn’t have any other chances to showcase his ability to scouts. He was recently named to Finland’s U20 camp roster, which is good that he’s back in the mix there. The thing about Räty that makes me hedge more is that there was such a steep regression from last season to this season. He needs to rebuild his confidence, which is a taller order and requires some special care from the team that drafts him. You get him back on his game, though, and Räty could one day be a top player from this class. In better years, he might slip further, but I still believe he’s got the chance to turn it around.”

From LastWordonHockey.com

Räty 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 Räty’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.

Offensive Game
Räty 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. Räty also has a powerful shot and a quick release.

Räty 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. Räty should be better at battling through those dirty areas as he becomes stronger and more confident.

Defensive Game
Räty 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, Räty 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. Räty 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 Räty’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 Räty’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 Räty 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, Räty is comparable to Nazem Kadri, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.

38 thoughts on “2021 NHL Draft Profile: Aatu Räty

  • June 28, 2021 at 8:22 am

    Too much of a gamble at 11

  • June 28, 2021 at 9:21 am

    Blackhawks European scouts do a top notch job, should have as good a handle as any team on this guys potential. Sounds iffy by some reports though.

  • June 28, 2021 at 11:04 am

    I agree with Wrap – too much of a gamble at 11.

  • June 28, 2021 at 11:46 am

    I would give up the 2022 1st pick and this year’s 1st pick to move up to #3 and select this guy….oh wait…..sorry….thought this was a Bears thread….sorry my bad.

  • June 28, 2021 at 11:58 am

    Brilliant move by the Blackhawks – hire a law firm to do a thorough (read – really, really, slow) review of the sexual assault scandal. This makes it possible for everyone to say: ‘I cannot talk about an ongoing investigation’.

    Bettman, Sharp, Olczyk, Bowman, etc… will get asked about the scandal the moment they get in front of a microphone. Now they have an out.

    Besides, now Bowman can stay around for the drafts.

  • June 28, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    M & M or Sillinger then Coronato-imo

  • June 28, 2021 at 12:08 pm

    M & M or Sillinger then Coronato-imo

    Personally would love the Eklund kid… My sleeper in this draft (by sleeper- I mean- might be post best NHL #’s in the next 5-6 years- out of all top 15 drafted) he is currently rated 7th on MY NHL Draft2021

  • June 28, 2021 at 1:05 pm

    Obviously we only know a little of what has gone down in the sexual assault case

    I have a suspicion that McD and secondarily James Gary the psychologist who convinced John Doe that he was culpable will take the blame and thus the fall but more will come out yet so it’s possible that Stan could also take the fall although at the moment I don’t think so

  • June 28, 2021 at 1:20 pm

    Yuck! No thank you. A very underwhelming group of scouting reports to say the least. Checked out about 10 different Mock Drafts last night and 9 of them had the Wings taking the Goalie Wallstedt at #6. McTavish was listed anywhere from 3rd to the 19th pick. Stillman seems to be the consensus pick for the Hawks.

  • June 28, 2021 at 1:39 pm

    I’m hoping for one of McTavish Edvinsson or Johnson to fall to 11 – if not I think the Hawks select either Coronato or Sillinger

  • June 28, 2021 at 1:55 pm

    Raty is the perfect gamble if you have a 2nd pick on the 1st rnd..could easily see Detroit grabbing him at 22 if he slips that far..as for the Hawks, I think there will be better options (ceiling wise) at 11 than a player who had a steep decline this year and never really recovered..

  • June 28, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    Wrap as long as the sponsors don’t start pulling the plug, i think status quo for front office is likely for now.

    With the lack of proper scouting this year it’s hard to get know how accurate the reports are, likely alot of missed picks slip down in the draft and pthers go higher than they should.

  • June 28, 2021 at 2:43 pm

    beer league


  • June 28, 2021 at 6:39 pm


    June 28, 2021 at 1:39 pm
    I’m hoping for one of McTavish Edvinsson or Johnson to fall to 11 – if not I think the Hawks select either Coronato or Sillinger

  • June 28, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    TB had a good team already and went and got NYR best Defensemen/a top pair Defensemen and since then they are better/complete teams or good enough to win.

    We need top pair Defensemen/and a few other spots so when were closer get hem ufa/or tradeline like MCdonut.]

    Got to have plenty enough hardnose players to go with the skill or youll get ragdolled like that player did in 3rd period.

    We need hardnose players/about 8 more of them.

  • June 29, 2021 at 12:37 am

    Sorry Guys,I meant SILLINGER is the consensus pick at #11. Any of us who watched tonights Stanley Cup opener witnessed how far off the Hawks are physically from competing in this league. Big angry D Men on both teams that move and hit!

  • June 29, 2021 at 3:19 am

    On the Sexual assault part. Just throwing a dart here, but is there any chance John Doe is D-MAN Kim Johnson who Hawks traded for in 2/10 in the Barker deal, then mysteriously disappeared, and never played again.
    Just wondering

  • June 29, 2021 at 7:27 am

    Bill – Fits the profile. Plausible (unlike that idiotic rumor some idiot was passing along about a star player for the Blackhawks being John Doe).

    Hockeyfeed.com posted a story on April 27, 2020 that references Scott Power’s (below)

    “Blackhawks insider Scott Powers of The Athletic managed to get a very short comment from Johnsson after multiple failed attempts at phone calls to old numbers and emails to old accounts.

    From Powers:

    I tracked down another potential email account for Johnsson and sent a message. Eight minutes later, a reply arrived. It read, “Hi Scott. I’m not interested. All the best! Kim Johnsson.”

    A few days later, Falkman [Johnsson’s agent] returned a message too and wrote, “(Johnsson) asked me kindly, but firmly to tell you that he, and his family, has no wish to be back as a public person. He/we hope/s that you respect his wish to remain a private person, outside the media world. Thanks for your understanding.”

    Although we as fans may want to know what happened to former players who walked away from the sport following their careers, it seems as though some players would just prefer to be left alone.

  • June 29, 2021 at 8:34 am

    Beer League


  • June 29, 2021 at 10:53 am

    On the sexual assault – I don’t care who the players were. I care about how the organization let them down. McDonut was shown the “retirement” door, but he was essentially kicked out for his role in this fiasco. However, I feel there are others who let these kids down. They ALL must go! Also, I would not be against forcing the Hawks to sell the team, the way the NBA forced Donald Sterling to sell! This cover-up was so egregious and intentional, that EVERYONE in the organization, including players who knew and didn’t say anything should be sanctioned. Shame on all of them!

    On the expansion front, I would leave anyone who is making $3M or more unprotected. So, let them take Strome, DeHaan, or Zadarov. Who cares! We get to use that money on players who can actually help us.

    On the draft side, I want the McTavish kid, just because he’s tough! If we don’t get him, take the Chicago kid because he plays hard and can finish. We need more finishers!

  • June 29, 2021 at 11:19 am

    Regarding the sexual assault investigation, it’s imho that all management that was at the meeting need to be fired. Doing the right thing is no longer corporation correct. Everything is decided upon by lawyers and how much it’s going to cost. Well if the Hawks had handled the situation properly to begin with the cost would be negligible, now it looks like it’ll cost them quite a bundle.

    In regards to who the player is doesn’t concern me, what concerns me is that we have no idea as to how this might affect anyone in this situation and that he
    mentally recovers from this and is able to live a normal life.

    As for the draft, my choices in order are 1)Wallstedt, 2) McTavish, 3) Sillinger, 4)Lucius, 5)L`Heureux any of those 5 and I’ll walk away happy.

    I’m thinking Stan also does a feel good story by drafting Kirby’s brother in the 2nd round. He will give up both 2nd round draft choices to get him.

  • June 29, 2021 at 12:09 pm

    I must have missed the idiot rumor suggesting a star player is the John Doe victim. Who was the star player supposed to be and how does that square with the (limited) known details.

  • June 29, 2021 at 12:41 pm

    Really like your draft Choice …maybe they can get l Heureux with a second pick in first round .

  • June 29, 2021 at 1:07 pm


    Thanks, if all the rest of my choices were gone I wouldn’t mind L’Heureux at 11. I’ve
    got a hunch Stan might use both 2nd round picks to go after Kirby’s brother, he needs
    some feel good vibe. Saying that Kirbys little brother is suppose to be pretty good also.

  • June 29, 2021 at 1:24 pm

    EB – I apologize for misinterpreting your connection of Toews to the Aldrich scandal – even though, the idea that Toews was disgruntled and sat out last year because of how it was handled is idiotic (whether your idea or not).

    This whole scandal comes down to one thing: the Blackhawks could have done something, and chose not to.

  • June 29, 2021 at 1:26 pm

    Could L’Heureux drop to 43 I wonder?

  • June 29, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    I suspect McD and Gary will be the fall guys for the sexual assault scandal

    They may spin it that McD made the decision not to report to the police or to “take care of it” without saying what that meant and that he insisted on compliance from other management members present – if that doesn’t work they may indeed clean out all present at the meeting

    Gary I expect to be fired reagrdless for not taking the allegations seriously in his role as counselor to John Doe who had multiple sessions with Gary regarding the assault

  • June 29, 2021 at 1:47 pm

    Wrap – spot on.

    However, I don’t thing Gary is with the team anymore. I did not see him on the website.

    I agree, they will try to make McDonough the fall guy. However, if there is enough outrage at Bowman from inside and outside the team, they will throw him under the bus.

    Unfortunately, if they can Bowman it will be for all the wrong reasons, and not because it’s the right thing to do (that’s not how they do things).

  • June 29, 2021 at 3:08 pm

    Tim W. Your words about how far off the Hawks are physically from competing in this league aren`t far off the mark at all. Big angry D Men for sure. Did you see Cernak charge into Kotiniemi late in the third period along the boards. He looks looked like an angry train. Huge and menacing. Tampa has Hedman, Cernak, MacDonough, Savard, Sergashev, Schenn some games and Ruutta who looks even bigger and stronger than when he played with us. Montreal with Edmundson, Weber, Chariot ( 3 angry men here ), Petry and Merrill and a rugged Romanov in the wings. These are big strong capable and experienced ( and mobile ) defensemen. This is the recipe for a Stanley Cup winning defense in todays game. Obviously a mobile defense was effective back when we won our cups but that`s not the recipe for todays game anymore. I hope Bowman see`s this with his own two eyes and drafts accordingly going forward. We`ve got a couple of really tall d men coming, just not sure if they can play a heavy game like we`re seeing in these final four of the playoffs.

  • June 29, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    All true regarding Tampa and Montreal’s D men but keep in mind that Cernak is now 24 and most if not all of the others are older than that

    Cernak really came into his own this year – keep that in mind when criticizing our 20, 21 year olds – D men take time

    Tampa is lucky to have Hedman who is both big and skilled – shows the value of true #1 D

    With that in mind if the Hawks could get Jones without giving up too much I’m still all in

  • June 29, 2021 at 4:59 pm

    JG – I’m pretty sure Gary is still with team based on what I’ve read unless he’s already been let go since this story broke

  • June 29, 2021 at 5:53 pm

    the mynhldraft.com has Edvinsson at 10th thats right where we are.

  • June 29, 2021 at 6:49 pm

    James Gary is listed as mental skills coach under medical staff

  • June 29, 2021 at 8:09 pm

    John Doe also notified the NHLPA who also did nothing – seems strange to me

    The PA needs to answer for it’s inaction as well

  • June 29, 2021 at 8:49 pm

    Like the draft options we have and be cool to get Dach brother if he is a good player.

    I want at least 8 hardnose players more then we have now and top pair Defensemen. The rest will take care of itself.

  • June 30, 2021 at 4:35 am

    I say if Wallstedt is on the board for us we call Calgary and tell them that Edmonton is calling us for the pick. Vice versa tell Edmonton we know Calgary wants Wallstedt.

    Get Tkachuk from Calgary. I think a flip of #1s plus a 2nd and fourth with Strome and Kurashev gets it done.

    With Edmonton might have gotten tougher to get Nurse with the RNH signing. The signing is showing that Holland is committed to bringing the Cup with/for the core. Also if I’m Nurse I want to stay in Edmonton.

    Either way get Nurse for a flip of 1s a 4th and Mitchell. Or get Bear for a flip of 1s plus their 3rd for Mitchell and a 4th.

  • June 30, 2021 at 10:21 am

    Yes yes, if they do anything to Blackhawks office people the equal has to be done to nhlpa office people same amount. You can’t pick and choose lots of org and little of nhlpa needs to be equal for both what ever it is. If both didn’t do what they could by telling everything they knew.

    Just like Paterni Penn State he did tell athletic director and chief police what he knew/and he only knew what was told to him didn’t see anything. He only knew people were touched did not know any one raped so he should have not been looked at badly at just because an fbi person said a email showed he was involved and then 2.5 yrs later on court judge says he wants to see every email and looked at all of the, and said there is nothing here that proves Paterno had anything to do with this and vindicated and wins records fully restored by ncaa. But it was the public believing the fbi person for those 2.5 yrs was a disgrace to Paterno.

    For the athletic director and chief if they were told by others that people got raped and not just touched then those two did wrong not Paterni.

    Hess things are bad overall so whatever.

    So all I am saying is I wouldn’t believe anything any report says until 2.5 yrs later when it’s looked at by judge and not by one side or other during the time from news to judge guy. The judge guy seems to be the only that doesn’t lie fib about thing to make public think this that and then here’s the pressure gs are done just because eof that and half the time that’s wrong.

    Wait until judge guy see the info prove.

    It happens at every college and sports and business not just Penn State or other. The 5ing with Penn a state and Paterno is theyim always did the right thing and are foos people so the public and others wanted to hang Paterno on cross because they didn’t like him. Jesus.

    Peace. Consent is what matters/counts.

  • June 30, 2021 at 10:23 am

    Maybe if they have prove that nhl/Bettmanknew something to and can finally get rid of Bettman.

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