Every draft sees a variety of positions taken. Just because the cupboard may be full in one component doesn’t mean the gathering stops completely. Because of this, we’re going to deviate from looking at left defense, which is still likely at the top of the Kings priority list.
Aside from bolstering the blueline, Blake discussed adding toughness. The retirement of former captain Dustin Brown leaves a large hole in everyone’s collective hearts, which subsequently gives room for some additional toughness and grit up front.
Date of Birth: March 30, 2004
Weight: 205 lbs
McGroarty spent the season with the United States Hockey National Team Development Program (USNTDP). He had 69 points (35 G, 34 A) in 54 games.
The native of Lincoln, Nebraska is committed to the University of Michigan. As part of the USNTDP’s schedule, they play a mixed schedule against the NCAA and the United States Hockey League (USHL). One such tilt this season was against the Wolverines this season, where McGroarty gave them a sneak preview of his skills, scoring a goal in that game.
McGroarty’s drawing attention for his offensive ability on the international ice as well. During the 2022 U-18 WJC, he captained Team USA to a silver medal. He scored nine points (8 G, 1 A) in six games, including two tallies against Team Sweden in the gold medal match.
Doesn’t Stay Down Long
One of the bigger question marks with any prospect is consistency in scoring. This season, regardless of what competition he faced, McGroarty never went more than three games where he was held without a point.
Rankings by Independent Scouting Services
Ranked No 40 by Elite Prospects. “’McGroarty does a lot of things really well but the most translatable and impressive is simply understanding where the play is going and how to situate himself best to maximize his chances,’ Elite Prospects Dir. of Film scouting Cam Robinson wrote in an April game report. ‘He’s clearly a highly intelligent player and this game was no different. He sat in coverage and then simply slid out to enter into a pocket when a pass could be made.’”
Ranked No. 21 by Corey Pronman.“McGroarty is a highly-skilled winger who is a threat inside the offensive zone because of his very good puck skills, shot and vision. He can make a lot of plays with finesse, but also is highly competitive. He forces a lot of turnovers, wins a good number of battles and can create around the hard areas of the offensive zone. The knock on McGroarty historically has been his skating. He has an awkward stride that lacks ideal balance and mechanics, but he has enough quickness to be able to play in the NHL. He projects as a top-nine winger with the potential to play higher in a lineup.”
Ranked No. 29 by Last Word on Sports. “McGroarty’s work ethic, smarts and offensive potential make him a very intriguing prospect. He could become a second-line player if he reaches his potential. While McGroarty split time between centre and wing this season, his skating issues likely mean that he will be a winger at the pro level. He needs to work on that skating in order to really make an impact at the next level. The good news is that the less intense NCAA schedule should give him the time to work on his skating during the week. Expect him to spend a couple of years at Michigan before needing AHL time, and then moving to the NHL. His game is reminiscent of Blake Coleman. This is a stylistic comparison only though. It is not a projection based on his skill as well as ability.”
See For Yourself
Here is a shift by shift video of Rutger McGroarty.
There is a common read when glancing over the scouting reports: competitive, skilled, smart, poor skater. Wearing the C is always a great sign of trust, especially on the big stage. In games, he was also played on the penalty kill, which also reinforces the confidence the coaching staff has in him.
Focusing on the negative first, skating requires a lot of work. The NHL has evolved to be much more forgiving for great skaters, and his lower-end skating ability and trouble staying on his feet can be an issue. While in college, he would benefit a lot from getting a skating coach and utilizing the schedule to boost his physical strength.
That said, hockey IQ and sense can overcome skating issues. A player who slowly goes to the right place can cover the ice a lot better than a fast one going to the wrong place. His ability to read the ice and sense the game can make him an all-situation type of player.
Along with the skillset he boasts to go with the toolbox, McGroarty is also going to one of the top collegiate schools. They went to the final four, and had recent standouts Owen Power, Kent Johnson, Luke Hughes, Matty Beniers, Thomas Bordeleau, and more. The Kings have enough depth to let him marinate in the NCAA for a couple seasons without having to rush him.
McGroarty reads like a good depth player long-term in the NHL at worst. Even if he doesn’t see noticeable improvement in his skating, he has a wealth of other qualities that make it easy to envision him on an NHL roster in some capacity.
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