2011 Draft Pick Building On His Second Go-Round At Blues' Prospect Orientation:
One year ago, Ty Rattie was a brand-new member of the St. Louis Blues organization, having just been selected 32nd overall by the Blues in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The Alberta native was attending an orientation camp with several of his fellow Blues' prospects, and was feeling just a bit overwhelmed by being a highly-regarded NHL prospect (many thought he might be selected in the first round) and by being in a no-nonsense professional NHL enmvironment for the first time.
After a year in which Rattie skated in two pre-season games for the Blues before returning to junior, where he was one of the top scorers in all major junior hockey (57 G, 64 A in 69 games with Portland of the Western League), one of the most dynamic offensive prospects in Blues' history is beginning to feel much more comfortable and at ease with the whole process.
"Not as nervous, that's for sure," he said. "I remember coming through those doors the first time last year and just being blown away and just thinking how crazy it is to actually be here. But the second time around, a little more confident, a little more relaxed."
Rattie's experience in last year's orientation, and his participation in NHL games during the Blues' preseason, has served as an incentive for the young up-and-coming star, a "carrot-on-a-stick" situation, if you will. He noted that "For sure, you see what it takes" to play in the NHL by going through these experiences, and he has responded by not only making himself one of the top scoring prospects in all of hockey, but also by developing strength and speed to ready himself for the pro game.
Since last year's camp, Rattie has packed on ten pounds of muscle. At 5' 11 and 173 pounds, "strength-wise, he's still a ways away from the NHL," according to the Blues' GM Doug Armstrong, but Rattie is a focused and determined athlete who is definitely headed in the right direction.
Rattie recently signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Blues, calling that "a moment I won't forget." But after this week's camp, and following his second training camp in September, he's expected to return to Portland for another season. (Players aren't eligible to suit up in the AHL until age 20).
At least now Rattie is getting closer to that carrot.
"Hopefully, I'll impress them enough to hang on to me for a bit," he said. "Getting in those two exhibition games last year was really something, and if I can make that happen again, that would be really cool. That's my goal, but at the same time, I know Portland is a good option for me and I love it there. If that happens, I'm going to take it and have a good year."
Read the entire story by Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch HERE.