We don’t even know when the 2020 NHL Draft will be held but some have already been busy projecting what the 2021 draft will look like.
According to a ‘Way to Early’ 2021 NHL mock draft published by Draftsite.com, the Detroit Red Wings hold the No. 1 overall pick (yeah right, we all know they will get screwed again) and they select C Aatu Räty out of Finland.
Here is what Bill Placzek has to say about Räty:
I am very willing to tell why I am projecting Aatu Räty as the front runner to be selected first overall in the 2021 NHL Draft. Many factors play into if a player who is slotted to be selected gets chose first overall, and the fact he is a centre whom can play all three positions is where I would start. He has versatility, but centre has always been a highly sought after position to fill. The fact that Aatu Räty has shown that he already plays the position of centre with a responsible 200 foot two way game.
Did not look out of place in the 8 Natiions – Ivan Hlinka Cup tournament, the Under 20 Four Nations Tournament he did not look at all our of place, as he plays a power game as he attacks into the offensive zone with physicality. If he doesn’t have the puck on the attack, he supports his lineman who does by finding and filling the empty creases in coverage where he provides an outlet for the puck to be sent. It is tough to try and separate the positive qualities…it is the way his hands and high pace of play and the aggressiveness and his quickness to get off shots on net. An excellent stickhandler while on the move, he has soft hands and gets the biscuit to his wingers. Has some chippiness and will get involved while he is in the corners. In the Four Nations, he opened the scoring against Sweden when he cut for the middle ice and used a seeding defender as a screen for his shot. His role as a younger on the Finnish World Junior Under 2O team was smaller, because the veteran players were cast into the top line combinations and on power play, while he was asked to be the 4th line centre man who saw little or no power play time. He was asked to help out on the penalty kill. Even though the competition was older, he wanted the puck his stick, always ready to shoot or make a play. Against Switzerland, he bursted off the boards to behind the Swiss goal and scored on the wraparound at the other post before the play happening. Goes into the corners and along the wall to dig pucks out. His body frame has not filled out and there is room add muscle and he can still add more leg strength that will add to the strong stop/start burst already in place. And like advanced younger players who are asked to play at higher competition levels with older players (and men with Kärpät Oulu in the top-tier Finnish Liiga) there are times when he seemed to lack the vision to good decisions in his passes when rushed or fatigued. There is no doubt that he is a smart player, and is the man against boys when playing inside his age group. You want to know why he is on top of draft lists? He’s a high paced locomotive who reaches top speed, then makes plays at top speed, as if he is playing at a higher speed than the rest of the ice. This past January in the U-18 Five Nations tournament, he play demonstrated why he is a notch up on most 2021 draft prospects.