New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz confirmed on Thursday that 18-year-old forward Aatu Raty was sent from training camp back to Finland to re-join his team, Kärpät — one of the top teams in the country’s professional league.
“That was the plan all along,” Trotz said. “The date being [Wednesday], practicing, and he had some paperwork to do and getting him back to his team so he can hopefully get back to his team and get right in the mix there and get playing.”
Raty was never going to make the NHL club after he dropped into the Islanders’ laps in the second round of the 2021 draft, yet he clearly impressed Trotz and team management along the way.
“He had a really good camp and we were really happy with him,” Trotz said, who compared him to veteran forward Zach Parise earlier during training camp.
“We want him to get a good handle on the person and the player in that order. The person is good,” Trotz told me on Tuesday. “We’re really impressed with the person and his game has lots of substance. He plays with a lot of joy in his game. He’s not scared of the moment. Which is really good for a young player.”
Raty appeared in each of the Islanders’ first two preseason games and is expected to make a stronger push for an NHL job in the next year or two.
Parise, Chara setting ‘good example
It doesn’t appear as though there’s been any issue fitting Parise and defenseman Zdeno Chara into the Islanders’ meticulous system.
The 37 and 44-year-old were the Islanders’ two big acquisitions this offseason are being looked upon as the missing pieces to a potential Stanley Cup puzzle.
As two former captains — Parise of the New Jersey Devils and Chara of the Boston Bruins — they’ve lived up to their billing.
“You talk about professionalism, you talk about a good example,” Trotz said. “If you want to have a winning culture, that Zach Parise mindset, how he goes through every drill at a high level. A guy like Zach and a guy like Big Z, those guys are invaluable for us, not only for this year, not only for our team… but for years to come.
“They are re-inforcing the things that our veterans are already doing on a consistent basis… If you’re a young guy saying I don’t have much today and you see a Parise, Chara, [Anders] Lee, a [Casey] Cizikas… you have to be embarrassed sitting there. Culturally, I think it has a great effect on us.”