Canucks prospect Aatu Räty talks learning from the Sedins and developing his game in Abbotsford
Photo credit:© Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
By Faber9 months ago
20-year-old Aatu Räty was in a state of relaxation when his girlfriend checked her phone and realized that the pair would be moving across the continent.
Räty was at a hotel spa in downtown New York when he first heard that he was traded to the Vancouver Canucks.
Now, almost two weeks later, Raty is adjusting to life in British Columbia and liking what he sees so far.
“A lot of nature obviously,” said Räty after spending the AHL All-Star week in Vancouver. “I was seeing those mountains. They look beautiful. I’ve probably had 50 pictures of them on my phone already. My family group chat is popping over there from me sending them pictures.”
Räty was able to get in a round of golf during the week and managed to relax a little bit thanks to the lull in the AHL schedule. He’s an avid golfer, but his golf skills pale in comparison to his girlfriend’s golf game. Räty told us that his girlfriend is a competitive golfer and she has a plus-two handicap. He laughed and said that he gets free golf lessons every day.
On Friday night, Räty made his Abbotsford Centre debut and impressed head coach Jeremy Colliton with his effort level and ability in the offensive zone.
“He’s an intelligent player,” said Colliton. “He’s got size, he’s patient with the puck, he’s got some deception. We just have to work on raising the tempo and pace of his game. But I mean, even in three games, you’ve seen him taking a step. I thought [Friday night] was his best game of the three so far. He looked very comfortable on the puck, made a lot of plays, [and has] lots of deception in his game.”
The consistent knock that we’ve heard against Räty is his pace. He is very gifted with the puck on his stick but needs to improve his pace so that he can find open areas of the ice. Two of the Canucks’ most important development staff members had heard a similar thing when they were 20 years old, and Räty is excited to learn from Daniel and Henrik Sedin about what they did at a young age to be successful.
“Definitely two legends that I’ve seen on TV and [seen] the highlights so many times,” said Räty when asked about getting a chance to work with the Sedins in Abbotsford. “I think there’s a lot to learn. I feel like with me because I’m not super fast or rely on winning one-on-ones all the time, I can get so many tips from them about playing that give-and-go game and then just trying to outsmart the opponent rather than just being rocket-fast. So that is great. They were in there for the one practice I was in and then I got to work with them for like 45 minutes — that was great.”
Räty also has 12 NHL games under his belt and learned a lot in those dozen outings.
“I obviously learned a lot from all the players and the coaching staff and just from the game and what you need to do out there,” said Räty. “I feel like I play really well in those big games with good players and against good players. That’s the best that my game adapts to.”
Thanks to that NHL stint, Räty was able to see what he needs to improve on and is using his AHL time to be even better when his next NHL opportunity comes around.
“I feel like I know my strengths and my weaknesses, and they kind of came out there,” said Räty when asked about what he learned in his 12 NHL games this season. “I think I need to get better at skating and then just need to work on [my] all-around game. Obviously, if you play in the NHL, you can’t have any huge holes in your game.”
For now, Räty is with a young team in Abbotsford that has had some great development stories so far this year. Arturs Silovs is evolving into one heck of an AHL starter at just 21 years old. Danila Klimovich has taken a massive jump in his play as a 20-year-old. And players like Tristen Nielsen, Chase Wouters, and Arshdeep Bains have all been adjusting well to the AHL.
”I feel like almost the whole team is pretty young. It’s a great atmosphere over here. I feel like with us young guys, everybody wants to get better. I think [during] the practice that I was in and the morning skates — the tempo is high. Everybody is skating a lot and challenges each other. I think that’s how players get better.”
Räty finished Friday night’s game with six shots on net and gained a lot of fans at the Abbotsford Centre with his play in the offensive zone. There are clearly parts of his game that he needs to improve on before becoming a full-time NHLer but the kid is still just 20 years old. He is aware that his pace and tempo need to improve and with a strong development staff out in Abbotsford, they will give him all the opportunity in the world to make those improvements to his game.
We will continue to monitor Räty’s progression as the season goes on and hope to see Abbotsford have a long run into the AHL playoffs.
It’s a young group out in Abbotsford this season and Räty may be the brightest star of the bunch.
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