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Report: Islanders Inquire About a Rutger McGroarty Trade

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Rutger McGroarty being drafted // Ryan Remiorz // The Canadian Press files

Late last night on the eve of the NHL Draft, veteran Winnipeg Jets reporter Mike McIntyre, of the Winnipeg Free Press, reported that the New York Islanders have reached out to the Jets about prospect Rutger McGroarty.

https://x.com/mikemcintyrewpg/status/1806506112524431845?s=46

McGroatry, 20, was drafted 14th overall in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. He’s currently playing at the University of Michigan, where this past season, he registered 16 goals and 52 points in 36 games, helping lead Michigan to the National Semifinals in the Frozen Four.

McGroarty also was named captain of the 2024 US World Junior’s team, where he led the team to a gold medal. He was also the first forward to be named captain since Joey Anderson in 2018, while scored five goals and nine points to lead the US to the gold medal.

Needless to say, this kid has a very high, very real ceiling.

Why is he available?

According to the Murat Ages of the Athletic/NY Times, this divide arose because Winnipeg handled the prospect at the end of his collegiate season. Winnipeg wanted to sign McGroarty, but the player wasn’t given any assurances about playing time or making the roster next year. As a result, McGroarty returned to Michigan, and the relationship between player and team has dissipated.

Now, the team and McGroarty are looking to move on. The Islanders would be interested because he’s a potential impact player who’s only 20 years old. But he won’t be arriving this season, so I’m not sure why the Islanders would be going for the player right now, as he can’t help this season.

But the Islanders have been linked anyway. What does that say? Pure speculation, to me, would say the Islanders could be going for both Nikolaj Ehlers, who they’ve been linked to multiple times, and McGroarty.

Could the Islanders be targeting a blockbuster move with the Jets?

Simply put, the Islanders need to make a splash. Acquiring Ehlers for right now should be the priority over McGroarty, but landing both would be significant for the Islanders.

A package to Winnipeg would have to be a large one, figuring it would include the 20th overall pick, one of the second-round picks, maybe Oliver Wahlstrom or Simon Holmstrom, or even Jean-Gabriel Pageau/Casey Cizikas.

It’s unlikely that both can be acquired at once, but it would certainly kickstart a summer of change for the Islanders.

There’s still no update on any of the Islanders’ pending RFAs or UFAs, but that isn’t overly shocking. Last year, the Islanders announced every extension at 4:45 p.m. on July 1.