With the 14th pick of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, the Winnipeg Jets have selected Rutger McGroarty from the USNTDP Juniors of the United States Hockey League (USHL)
About Rutger McGroarty
Criminally underrated by many major scouting outlets, Rutger McGroarty is going to surprise a lot of people with his skills in the NHL one day. In addition to having arguably one of the most accurate shots in the entire 2022 Draft class, he also boasts a package of creativity, work ethic and hockey IQ that will make him a formidable pro to go up against. His skating may be suspect, but that of course can be refined with a skating coach — definitely not a deal-breaker by any means.
Related: 2022 NHL Draft: Live Tracker
Splitting his time between the US National U18 Team and the USNTDP Juniors, McGroarty posted 55 goals and 102 points in 69 games and absolutely dominated the goal column at the recent U18s, scoring eight goals in only six games. If not for Logan Cooley, he would have been named the tournament’s best forward, no doubt about it. However, he was still named as a top-three player on the team and walked away with a silver medal.
THW Prospect Profile Excerpt
“Yet another skilled American in this projected first-round draft class, Rutger McGroarty has already been showcased on several highlight reels this season playing for the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP). Already boasting the likes of Logan Cooley, Seamus Casey, and Frank Nazar, this 2022 group will likely comprise the bulk of the first round this summer. With creativity, high hockey IQ, a heavy, accurate shot, and a tremendous work ethic in his arsenal, he could be one of the most dynamic players in this draft.
“Poised to become the second-ever Nebraska-born player to be drafted into the NHL (Jake Guentzel being the other), McGroarty has already made history as the state’s first to play for the USNTDP, now he will look to usurp him as its highest selected. By the way, Guentzel was drafted 77th overall in 2013, so unless the unthinkable happens and McGroarty drops like a rock, he will be the first to be chosen in the opening round, potentially even the top 15…
“While McGroarty is known more for his exploits in the offensive zone, he has shown himself capable of being a presence in his own end of the ice as well. Using his size, smarts, and positioning, he is able to knock players off the puck and quickly transition to offence in the blink of an eye. Some scouts believe he needs to improve upon his skating mechanics (mostly his first few strides) to maximize his potential in the NHL, but those things can be easily fixed by a skating coach. All things considered, he is a pretty complete package and any team who drafts him will be getting a productive top-six player for years to come.”
How This Affects the Jets Plans
The Jets need more high-end prospects and McGroarty adds a lot to their pool. His work ethic, NHL-level shot and overall creativity will make fans stand up and take notice. He’s got an amazing personality too, which will make the locker room better when he debuts in the NHL. All in all, the Jets add a great forward with amazing potential. Once he figures out his skating, he’s a top-line winger, no doubt about it.
Matthew Zator is a THW freelance writer, media editor, and scout who lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks hockey, the NHL Draft, and prospects in general. He loves talking about young players and their potential. Matthew is a must-read for Canucks fans and fans of the NHL Draft and its prospects. For interview requests or content information, you can follow Matthew through his social media accounts which are listed under his photo at the conclusion of articles like this one about Tyler Motte.