Regarding the Winnipeg Jets 2022 draft class, much of the focus this offseason, through training camp, and into the start of the 2022-2023 season has been on the Jets’ 30th overall selection, Brad Lambert.
There should be no surprise about that considering Lambert had an outstanding preseason and signed an entry-level deal with the Jets and is now applying his trade with the Jets’ AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose.
Lambert was not the only player Winnipeg selected in the first round of the most recent draft. The Jets also had the 14th overall pick in the draft and they selected American-born forward, Rutger McGroarty.
McGroarty was drafted by the Jets after playing the past two seasons for the United States National Development Program. In 54 games last season, the Lincoln, Nebraska native had 35 goals, 34 assists, 65 penalty minutes, and a plus-54 plus/minus.
At the time McGroarty was drafted, he was committed to play at the NCAA collegiate level for the University of Michigan.
The Winnipeg Jets’ 14th overall pick from the 2022 draft, Rutger McGroarty has started the season extremely well for the Michigan Wolverines
Through the first eight games of his collegiate career, the eighteen-year-old, McGroarty has 10 points. He currently has four goals, six assists, 23 shots, zero penalty minutes, and a plus-two plus/minus.
This past Saturday, McGroarty collected his first hat trick in Michigan’s 6-5 win over Western Michigan. With the weekend sweep over Western Michigan, the Wolverines now have an impressive 7-1-0 record and are currently ranked as the top team in the Country, according to the DCU/USCHO Divison I Men’s Poll.
McGroarty is showing that he can also be a threat on the powerplay. Out of his four goals scored this season, three have come on the man advantage.
McGroarty is having a fantastic start to the season and is definitely a prospect that Winnipeg Jets fans should keep an eye on throughout this season.
McGroarty and Michigan will next be in action this Friday and Saturday for two Big Ten conference games at Penn State.
Players who are drafted and then attend college provide an interesting dynamic for NHL front offices, so It will be interesting to see if/when McGroarty signs with the Jets.
The Winnipeg Jets and Their Recent College Hockey Prospects
2022 has been interesting regarding the Jets and their college draft picks. Chaz Lucius surprised many when he signed an entry-level contract after one year at the University of Minnesota.
On the other hand, last year, the Jets traded Nathan Smith to the Arizona Coyotes while he was finishing his junior year at Minnesota State University (Mankato) after Smith indicated that he would not sign with the Jets. Then Smith subsequently signed with the Coyotes.
All of these situations are not uncommon in the NHL. We have seen players like Jimmy Vesey complete their college careers and become unrestricted free agents rather than signing with the franchise who originally draft them. Once players become a “UFA” they are then free to sign with any franchise.
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We have also seen players like Smith and Adam Fox who indicated to the franchise that drafted them that they were not going to sign with them, then get their signing rights traded (In Fox’s case his rights were traded twice), and they subsequently sign with whichever franchise that traded for them.