Raty eager for ‘fresh start’ after settling in with Canucks – NHL.com

PENTICTON, British Columbia — Aatu Raty is excited to get a fresh start with the Vancouver Canucks. Again.

The 20-year-old forward prospect was acquired by the Canucks with Anthony Beauvillier and a conditional first-round pick in a trade with the New York Islanders on Jan. 30 for former Vancouver captain Bo Horvat.

It was a fresh start for Raty, but not an easy one.

“I think it’s great to start the season from where you should start, the starting point, and going all the way through,” Raty told NHL.com at the Young Stars Classic. “It’s way, way, way easier. It’s still hard because I don’t quite know all the names because it’s a lot of new people, especially for me because it’d be tough to know a hundred new Finnish names and faces and in English it’s a lot harder. That’s the way it goes.

“But it’s a lot easier having those relationships, knowing something about one another and getting … deeper connections.”

Raty said his play may have been affected after the trade. He had one assist in three games with the Canucks and 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) in 25 games with Abbotsford of the American Hockey League to finish the season.

The numbers were not bad, but Raty never quite felt comfortable.

“It was really hard,” he said. “I loved being in New York and everything was really good there, but I don’t know. I got traded in Finland my last year and got a lot bigger opportunity there and it felt like it was going to be the same thing and everything would come easy. Obviously, you want to be positive and have that mindset, but it wasn’t that easy at the end of the day. I was really shocked. I knew guys got traded all the time, but you never think it’s going to happen to you. I wasn’t even in any rumors that I knew of. Definitely a big thing.

“It’s the mentality. It’s a switch. You have to pack everything, sell the car, do something with the house, get everything figured out. You’re so focused on that. I only realized everything was going to change forever much later.”

The Canucks, though, were happy to acquire Raty and believe he can be a player for them moving forward.

“He’s a two-way center,” Vancouver assistant general manager Ryan Johnson said. “Good in the draw that can kill penalties and can contribute on the power play. We feel he’s still on the uprise. He’s been playing for two or three years pro. This is his first experience playing in North America. We see a lot of upside in him. He’s had a really good offseason, improved his conditioning and on the strength side of things. We expect him to take a big leap this year.”

Raty was selected by the Islanders in the second round (No. 52) of the 2021 NHL Draft. In 2021-22 he had 40 points (13 goals, 27 assists) playing 41 games in Liiga, the top professional league in Finland.

Before the trade last season, he had two goals in 12 games with New York and 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 27 games with Bridgeport of the AHL.

“We think he can be a legitimate bottom-six forward that can match up against top lines, take key face-offs, kill penalties, but we do recognize as you see out here, he’s got the abilities to make plays and create offense as well,” Johnson said. “That’s the hope. We have to get him there.”

With a clean slate this season, Raty is ready to try and win a spot on the Canucks roster.

“Definitely a big opportunity here,” Raty said. “I didn’t like the way I played after the trade. Now it’s a fresh start. Not that I had any excuses. It’s the cliche ‘no excuses.’ Everyone starts at the same line in training camp and then you just compete and go on. I think it’s going to be totally different. That fresh start is going to be great.

“I’m really excited to get competing.”

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