2021-22 Team: USNTDP Juniors (USHL)
Date of birth: March 30, 2004
Birthplace: Lincoln, NE, USA
Height: 6 feet Weight: 205 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: Eligible for the first year in 2022
Yet another talented American in this first-round projected draft class, Rutger McGroarty has already been featured on several highlight reels this season while playing for the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP). Already featuring Logan Cooley, Seamus Casey and Frank Nazar, this 2022 group will likely make up the bulk of Round 1 this summer. With creativity, a high hockey IQ, a powerful and accurate shot and a tremendous work ethic in his arsenal, he could be one of the most dynamic players in this draft.
Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide
Set to become the second Nebraska-born player to be drafted into the NHL (Jake Guentzel being the other), McGroarty has already made history as the first player from the state to play for the USNTDP, now he will seek to usurp him as his highest chosen. By the way, Guentzel was drafted 77th overall in 2013, so unless the unthinkable happens and McGroarty drops like a rock, he’ll be the first pick in the first round, potentially even the top 15 .
Coached by his father, Jim, who played in the ECHL, WCHL and other leagues in the 80s and 90s, including professional roller hockey in 1995 and 1998, Rutger grew up living and breathing the hockey. Jim also coached the United States Hockey League (USHL) Lincoln Stars in the early 2000s, so he enjoyed some perks that not all aspiring hockey players get when they grow up.
“The benefits were obviously my dad had the keys to the rink,” McGroarty said. “It was amazing. I loved every second of it…I was in the USHL [Lincoln Stars] changing room every day when I had school canceled or at the end of the day when school was over. I was hanging out with these guys, so it made me mature faster than a normal 7 or 8 year old kid, so that was awesome.
Before the call from the USNTDP, McGroarty first came to prominence in the 15U ranks when he scored 82 goals and 160 points in just 63 games during the 2019-20 season. The rising power forward was of course recruited by the USNTDP and started playing for them soon after. In addition to the other attributes mentioned at the opening of this profile, he is also an elite playmaker, hence the 78 assists he has made during this monster campaign.
Although McGroarty is best known for his exploits in the offensive zone, he has also shown himself to be present on his side of the ice. Using his size, intelligence and positioning, he is able to knock players off the puck and quickly go on offense in the blink of an eye. Some scouts think he needs to improve his skating mechanics (mainly his first strides) to maximize his NHL potential, but those things can be easily corrected by a skating coach. All things considered, he’s a pretty complete package and any team that drafts him will get a productive top-six player for years to come.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Rutger McGroarty – Projection of the NHL Draft
As I mentioned before, McGroarty has the potential to be selected in the top 15. Ranked everywhere by world scouting experts, from 12th (Bob McKenzie/FC Hockey) to 51st (Elite Prospects), he could be classified as a polarizing hope. All I have to say is if he gets drafted in the second round like the Elite Prospects projects, this team will get an absolute steal. What might keep the pundits from placing him firmly in the top 15 is his overall skating and consistency. In my mind, those things are hardly weaknesses to justify dropping him near the end of the first round.
“The true definition of a power forward, McGroarty can use his big, powerful frame to beef up puck defenders, while also regaining possession and getting the puck to a teammate. defenders in their own zone and has the skill and knowledge to make them pay the price…McGroarty has quite impressive vision on the ice, especially in the offensive zone when it comes to making plays. from hitting a teammate with a sewing pass for a tap into the goal, which many other players wouldn’t have the skill or the nerve to attempt. He is able to do this while exuding confidence and is generally rewarded with a first assist.- Paul Zuk, Smaht Scouting
“In my opinion, this [his shot] is McGroarty’s best individual tool. He has the most dangerous shot of any 2022 draft-eligible player I’ve seen so far in this draft class. He has the triple threat in terms of shooting, his ability to deceive goalkeepers with his ability to launch his shot from any angle, and his precision in picking his spot and generating the power that will beat goalkeepers from anywhere. . – Austin Broad, FC Hockey
“McGroarty is one of the most complete prospects in the 2022 draft class. He’s a good size, skates pretty well, competes hard and has a lot of offensive skill. He combines power play with finesse, capable of getting the puck to the net and finishing with his soft hands His shot is heavy and comes off his stick quickly making him a goal threat inside as well as from the perimeter McGroarty is a power skater who breaks through a path through defenders and keeps his feet moving to chase pucks effectively on the forecheck, but his feet can be a little heavy at times…” – Nick Richard, Dobber Prospects
“He worked on his skating this summer, he is committed to it, it is improving. I’ve never seen him lose a puck run or a puck battle because of his skating, and I think because his mind is so good he’s able to play the game fast… He’s a forward of power who is a very intelligent player. He’s strong, he has great clearance, he sees the ice and he’s competitive. – Adam Nightingale, U18 Head Coach (of “Meet Rutger McGroarty, the Nebraska kid who made history by making it to the 2022 NHL Draft” Scott Wheeler, Athleticism11/29/21)
- Heavy and accurate shot
- Two way game
- Game leader
- Work ethic
Under construction (Improvements to be made)
- Skating mechanics
McGroarty has the ability to become a solid top-six player in the NHL with his power forward potential and scoring mentality. He will be an asset on the power play with his size and powerful shot and his dynamic presence all over the ice at even strength. Clicking on Twitter I saw him compared to Zach Hyman of the Edmonton Oilers, which is fair since his work ethic and ability to improve teammates is a lot like the former Maple Leaf star. I think he’ll end up being a more productive version in his prime, because Hyman almost doesn’t have the kick that McGroarty has.
Risk – 3/5, Reward – 5/5
Fantasy hockey potential
Attack – 8/10, Defense – 7/10
Matthew Zator is a freelance writer, editor and THW scout who lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks hockey, the NHL Draft and prospects in general. He likes to talk 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 end of articles like this one on Tyler Motte.
Matthew also hosts The Hockey Writers Prospect Corner on YouTube and is the co-host of the West-centric podcast.