Finnish right winger Aku Räty is sometimes the forgotten brother to Aatu, who is projected to be a top prospect in the 2021 Draft, but the elder of the two certainly has the potential to become an NHLer in the near future.
19/20 League: Kärpät (SM-Liiga)/Kärpät U20 (U20 SM-Sarja)
Games played: 32/18
Highest rating: 18
Lowest rating: 19
The Oulu native was drafted in the fifth round out of the Finnish junior league, where he had posted a respectable 19 goals and 45 total points in 52 regular-season appearances for Kärpät U20.
Top Finnish prospects often play in the top professional tier in the country by the time they are drafted, which explains why the younger of the two Räty brothers fell to the later rounds of his draft class.
Despite this, Räty followed his draft year up by dominating at the junior level and earning himself 32 appearances in the SM-Liiga with the adult Kärpät team.
While his offensive production was low in the top tier, with just two goals and seven total points, Räty earned international recognition at the World Junior Championships - where he scored two goals and had three points in seven appearances at the top junior international competition.
The worldwide Coronavirus pandemic has impacted hockey leagues and players everywhere and Räty has had a slow start to the 2020/21 season, failing to register a single point in five total games, three of which have come in the SM-Liiga.
He has plenty of potential and could still feature for Team Finland at the upcoming WJC again, where he will be hoping to have a bigger impact from a year ago and start to get back into his groove, putting his strong forechecking talents and willingness to battle hard in the corners to better use.
He isn’t likely to ever be a significant points producer when he eventually brings his talents over to North America, but he projects to be a decent checking third-line forward in the NHL if he continues to bulk out and work on the finer things of his game.
Late-round draft picks are often slept on, but Conor Garland has proven that anyone can have an impact with the right work ethic and determination to improve.
Räty may live in the shadow of his younger brother already, but if he can make the NHL in the next two-to-three seasons, then it likely won’t matter and the Arizona Coyotes will have yet another young player that can contribute positively to their organization.