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Trade talks with Winnipeg Jets prospect Rutger McGroarty have emerged

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Photo credit:© Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Connor Baldwin
22 days ago
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A somewhat unexpected piece of Jets news was announced this morning on Sportsnet’s Elliotte Freidman’s 32 Thoughts Podcast with Jeff Marek. After discussing the current biggest story in hockey, that being the Oilers winning last night and forcing a game 7, they shifted to some news on Jets 2022 1st round pick, Rutger McGroarty.
Friedman mentioned that he still hasn’t have all the answers to this story, but he mentioned that McGroarty’s “family advisor is not talking and the Jets are not talking but the one thing I can tell you is that I have heard his name has come up in trade discussions”. The Jets still own the signing rights to McGroarty for 2 more seasons, but it was brought up that the Jets have discussed trading McGroarty’s rights to another team.
I first covered an update on McGroarty a few months ago, when it was announced that he was going to play next season with the University of Michigan for his junior year. Friedman went on later in this topic on his podcast to say that he doesn’t want to get ahead of anything just yet, but he confirmed that Rutger McGroarty’s name has been brought up in trade conversations recently.
The 20-year old from Lincoln, NE was selected 14th overall in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. Following the draft, McGroarty has played 2 full seasons with the University of Michigan, a top collegiate hockey team. In the 2023-24 season, McGroarty scored 16 goals and added 36 assists for 52 points in 36 games. In terms of development, McGroarty has proven that he is very soon to be ready for the NHL, but does this news have anything to do with the Jets currently being in what some would call a “win-now” window?
Further reports from the news on McGroarty have emerged this afternoon from other insiders, including from Murat Ates, a Winnipeg insider from The Athletic. In his article, he mentioned that the Jets wanted to sign McGroarty to his NHL entry-level contract in April. Like any other prospect coming out of their junior / school playing years, they want to have a fair chance at playing time with the team that drafted them. According to Murat, the Jets couldn’t promise McGroarty a plan for the near future that would give him a fair amount of playing time.
Murat went on to add that “this isn’t a situation where the player wants out of Winnipeg because of his views on the city. Instead, there appears to be a disconnect between how Winnipeg’s player development viewed and communicated its plan with McGroarty and McGroarty’s view of his own future.” The Jets have had several other cases recently where it seems like their young players have not gotten a chance to play as much as they might deserve. McGroarty is hoping to be a full-time NHL player next season, and the Jets just can’t guarantee McGroarty a spot in the lineup at the moment because of their current team structure.
The Jets will now be actively trying to trade McGroarty, and a trade is expected in the next few days, perhaps before the 2024 NHL draft. At this time, there are no reports as to which teams have engaged in trade talks with the Jets for McGroarty, but there will likely be many teams interested. As unfortunate as it may be for the Jets to be potentially losing one of their top prospects, this could be a chance to acquire another draft pick in next week’s draft. It will be interesting to see how this story develops in the next week or so, and I’ll be sure to cover the latest , including the potential trade, here on Jets Nation.

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