Prospect Rutger McGroarty not signing with Winnipeg Jets; returning for junior year at Michigan: report

Photo credit:© Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK
Connor Baldwin
11 days ago
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Rutger McGroarty watch for Winnipeg Jets fans has come to an end today. The Jets’ 2022 first round pick will not be joining the Winnipeg Jets this season. Instead, he will be returning for his junior year with the Michigan Wolverines. The team and Rutger’s advisors held discussions today, and the Jets supported his decision, according to a report from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
The news came shortly after McGroarty’s Michigan teammate Gavin Brindley signed a three-year deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets. McGroarty’s Michigan linemate, Frank Nazar, joined the Blackhawks on Saturday. Nazar scored in his NHL debut yesterday against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Tampa Bay Lightning also announced this morning a signing of another Michigan Wolverine forward, Dylan Duke, a fourth-round selection from the 2021 NHL draft.
It was a difficult decision for the team, but both sides agreed that it would be best for McGroarty to spend another year in college hockey. The Jets’ 14th overall selection in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft had an impactful season with Michigan this year, putting up 16 goals and 36 assists for 52 points in 36 games played. The Jets are certainly going to look to sign 20-year-old following his junior season at Michigan next season.
One of the factors that may have played a role in the decision was the potential opportunities that McGroarty would have with the Jets this season. As opposed to his Michigan teammates who just signed with NHL clubs, there is less of a chance for McGroarty to play significant minutes with the Jets. Brindley’s Blue Jackets and Nazar’s Blackhawks are both at the tail end of their seasons, and without the playoffs coming up for them, there is a chance for them to give their prospects a sizeable role in their last few games of the season.
The NHL minutes wouldn’t be as easily available for McGroarty, who would have found himself on a team that currently has strong forward depth. Instead, he will potentially captaining Michigan next season, with a goal of bringing the Wolverines a national championship.


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