The Arizona Coyotes’ original fifth-round pick was originally sent to the Chicago Blackhawks as part of the trade that brought Vinnie Hinostroza and Jordan Oesterle to the desert. But on the day of the draft, they acquired the 151st overall pick from the Pittsburgh Penguins along with the 98th and 207th overall picks. With their new fifth-round pick the Desert Dogs drafted the Finish forward Aku Raty.
Team: Kärpät U20/Kärpät
Regular Season Games Played: 18/32
World Juniors Game Played: 7
World Juniors Goals: 2
World Juniors Assists: 1
Like most later picks, Raty went largely unnoticed in his first season since being drafted. North American fans typically don’t pay much attention to the Finish leagues, and he didn’t have too impressive a start.
That changed during the World Juniors Tournament. Raty wasn’t a standout player in the tournament, but he held his own better than people expected. Writing about players in the tournament Corey Pronman wrote:
“I still don’t think his skill is all that appealing, but Raty was much better at this event than I would have imagined when watching him last season with his club or Finland’s U18 team. He quickly worked his way up an injured lineup into an important role.”
Finland finished fourth in the tournament, losing to Sweden in the bronze medal game. Raty wasn’t one of the top players of Team Finland, but he played well and earned the praise that he got. Fans tend to sleep on later prospects, but fellow fifth-round pick Conor Garland has shown that it doesn’t matter where you drafted if you continue evolving and putting in the work.