Saturday’s preseason game against Seattle will be a Futures Games with many of the teams’ 15 and 16-year olds taking part. This week, we’re featuring some of the players you might see in that game. Today we take a look at Ty Rattie, the team’s first round pick in the 2008 WHL Bantam Draft.
After a 10-game WHL debut last season, it’s understandable that Ty Rattie would go into the offseason figuring a spot on this year’s roster was his to lose.
After all, he was the second overall pick of the 2008 Bantam Draft, has lit up overmatched goalies at every level, and at 6’0” and 167 pounds, is big enough to handle the increased physicality that comes with playing in the WHL.
Then Rattie watched as the Winterhawks spent the offseason adding one talented player after another. He started running the numbers in his head and realized the coaching staff was going to have a lot of tough decisions to make, and all of a sudden there were no guarantees for him.
“Anytime you come into a training camp you’re going to have to keep up, and develop your spot on the team. It’s no different now. There’s more good players and it makes it more fun,” he said.
Rattie decided he had only one option: come to camp in the best shape of his life and give the coaching staff no choice but to keep him.
“I had a long summer, a lot of training. I was training with a lot of Dub players so I think I know how hard they work and I know how hard I have to work to keep up with them,” said Rattie. “I was in a group with (Prince George’s) Dana Tyrell, (Lethbridge’s) Zach Boychuk and (Seattle’s) Thomas Hickey so I pushed myself a lot harder. You watch them do what they did and you know you’re going to have to match it otherwise you’ll fall behind and look out of place.”
Looking out of place is not something Rattie has ever been accustomed to. He’s been a star at every level with an offensive game teams have yet been able to stop. Last season he posted 29 goals and 54 points in 34 games with the UFA Bisons in midget. He added five points in three playoff games, and 12 points in six games at the Mac’s Midget Tournament.
It came on the heels of an epic bantam season where he tallied 75 goals and a league-leading 131 points in 33 games. He outpaced the league’s second leading scorer by 24 points and the third place finisher by a staggering 59 points, earning the league’s MVP award.
He earned a call-up to Portland late last season at the conclusion of his bantam season, and was admittedly nervous early on.
“The first game against Spokane I was just watching big names, but after that I got down to business and started playing a little bit more,” he said.
The next night he potted a goal against Seattle, but was held off the board in his final eight games. While being held off the scoresheet was an unusual feeling for Rattie, he kept a sense of perspective.
“I didn’t really get frustrated. I was just going out there to get experience, get the game speed and to get a goal was just a bonus. Hopefully there will be a few more of those this year,” he said. “It helped a lot. I know what to expect. I know the pace of the game.”
The next step of his development will come Saturday when Portland hosts Seattle in a preseason game, with the two teams primarily playing their 15 and 16 year-old players.