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Islanders send top prospect Aatu Raty down to Bridgeport

Aatu Raty Islanders
New York Islanders’ Ross Johnston, left, and Aatu Raty celebrate Raty’s goal against Vancouver Canucks goalie Spencer Martin during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, in Vancouver, British Columbia. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

The New York Islanders announced Wednesday that they have sent down top prospect, Aatu Raty, to their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport after just seven NHL games. 

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The 20-year-0ld second-round pick scored two goals during his brief stint in the show, often inhabiting a lower-line role while taking reps on the Islanders’ second power-play unit. 

“Obviously I had a good time in Bridgeport. Really, really happy to be there to play in games and find the right way to play the game in North America,” Raty said last month. “But you’re still always dreaming about [that call up to the NHL] happening and then when it finally happens, it just felt so nice.”

Aatu Raty Islanders
Aatu Raty (16) celebrates after his goal in his first NHL hockey game during the third period against the Florida Panthers, Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, in Elmont, New York. (AP Photo/John Munson)

It was imperative that the Islanders sent Raty down with some form of haste. If a rookie plays more than nine games on an entry-level deal, it burns a year of his contract — a scenario that simply isn’t worth having a player record his average 8:25 of ice time per night.

Raty was called up out of necessity following a slew of Islanders injuries that forced the major shuffling of head coach Lane Lambert’s lineup. With the returns of Cal Clutterbuck and Simon Holmstrom, Casey Cizikas was able to move back to his regular spot at fourth-line center which Raty mostly inhabited. 

Going back down to Bridgeport will allow the Finnish prospect to get more playing time in what still is his first year playing full-time in North America. But he already impressed those with the big club.

“He’s a smart player. I think he kind of slows the game down,” veteran center Brock Nelson said. “He’s going to the puck, he’s strong on it, and he competes. So it’s a lot of good characteristics of a center.”

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For more on the Islanders and Aatu Raty, visit AMNY.com