HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- When Ty Rattie arrived for his initial orientation visit with the St. Louis Blues last summer, it was no different for him than the majority of the prospects witnessing life in the NHL for the first time.
"It was sort of like starting school for the first time," Rattie said. "You didn't know what to expect and you're obviously nervous."
Rattie, chosen by the Blues in the second round (No. 32) of the 2011 NHL Draft, comes into his second summer working with Blues strength and conditioning coach Nelson Ayotte this week at the St. Louis Mills Ice Zone brimming with confidence and eager to elevate the impressive numbers he put up in the Western Hockey League last season.
The 19-year-old ranked third in the WHL with 57 goals and 121 points. He also led the league in playoff goals with 19 in 21 games, and his 33 points were second -- helping the Portland Winterhawks advance to Game 7 of the WHL finals.
Having been through the initial process of becoming an NHL player, Rattie will continue to try and prove the skeptics wrong. Those same skeptics say the 5-foot-11, 170-pound right wing is too small to become an effective player at the NHL level.