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Islanders' Artu Letty sets NHL sights after World Juniors

If Aatu Räty hasn't found a good way to deal with jet lag, next month will be a good time to look for it.

Räty called me Monday afternoon from a hotel in Edmonton. There he was participating in the revamped World Junior Championships with his team Finland. He played his first game against Latvia on Tuesday night, scoring a goal with his three assists in a 6-1 win.

He travels from Finland to Edmonton and returns home again before making a more permanent trip ahead of training his camp for the islanders in September.

"It would be really difficult to cram all of his life first into Edmonton and then move to New York," he says.

This is by no means an easy process.

Räty had already traveled to Bridgeport at the end of the AHL season to get his first taste of hockey in North America, so the hotel was where he stayed for four weeks, which always meant a temporary stay. was doing. The following season will be his first full campaign in North America after he scored almost his goals per game (his 40 in 41 games) with Dukrit in Finnish La Liga.

"His offensive skills are really good," Finnish coach Antti Pennanen told The Post. "He can make some plays. He's good at power plays and will lead the team."

Islanders prospect Aatu Raty (34) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal for Finland in their 6-1 victory over Latvia during the third period of the World Junior Championships.
23} AP

Rati, a 19-year-old who has leapfrogged himself to become a top prospect in the Islanders' system, is calm and well-mannered. He speaks perfect English and watches what he says. When asked about the islanders' message at an exit meeting, he gave an answer that would make Lou Lamoriello proud.

Not that he lacked insight.

His second-round pick for the 2021 Islanders spent the summer working on his biggest limitations right now: skating and lower body strength. Some suggested he might play on the wing, but Räty was clear. He has played almost every game in his career at center and doesn't mind being substituted, but he sees himself playing in middle.

Despite getting a taste of North America months ago, he's still adjusting.

Islanders prospect Aatu Raty plays the puck against the Rangers' Adam Fox during a 2021 preseason game.

“I feel like there is an age requirement at AHL. It's more young players that are in good shape," he said Räty. “They are faster and stronger. I think the Finnish league is probably a little more tactical. Playing for the team, Power features the versatility of his play. He said he can play four of the five positions at man-advantage, with the exception of the "quarterback" role on the blue line. prize.

"I'm definitely very enthusiastic on the ice," he said Räty. "I feel like everyone does. I really want to fight. I really want to win. But I'm still collecting quite a lot. I'm not too angry." Clearly never, but while playing for Kärpät, after turning pro at the age of 16, I had to learn to control my anger. He quickly learned not to attract attention in a changing room full of experienced players. This is the kind of lesson that will likely come in handy when you step into Northwell Health his Ice His Center for camp.

Räty made no big announcements about building the team, just saying he wanted to do his best at camp. Asked if Letty was ready to challenge for a spot on the roster this season, Pennanen let out a long breath. "I hope so. But his year at the second level may be good for him." issued.

"Of course everyone wants to be on the show, but I feel like I can do my part. They'll let me know where I'll be playing," he said. I was. "I fully trust them to put me in a situation that is good for me."