We’re on a roll, folks! After talking about Jimmy Snuggerud on Friday, we’re sticking around in the NTDP mix, and breaking onto our draft board next is his teammate Rutger McGroarty. The program’s captain, he put together a very impressive draft year, scoring at well over a point per game pace and serving as a really dynamic driver for his team.
He’s off to the University of Michigan next year, and we’ve seen firsthand the type of talent that they can develop in that program, and he’ll also serve as a nice boost to their lineup, replacing some of the top-end talent that departed to sign NHL deals at the end of the season. There’s a lot to be excited about there.
BSH 2022 Community Draft Board, No. 18: Rutger McGroarty
Team: US National Team Development Program (USDP/USHL)
Statistics: 35 G, 34 A in 54 GP (USDP) and 15 G, 18 A in 25 GP (USHL)
No. 22 (NA skaters) by NHL Central Scouting
No. 26 by McKenzie/TSN (midseason)
No. 26 by Dobber Prospects (April)
No. 15 by Wheeler/The Athletic
What’s there to like?
The scoring numbers may have clued us in on this already, but McGroarty’s offensive game is what most immediately pops. In short: McGroarty has an excellent offensive toolkit and that makes him just about a constant threat with and without the puck in the offensive zone. He has a hard wrist shot with a quick release, and his accuracy with it is pretty remarkable, even from a distance. He’s illusive with the puck and excellent at spinning away from coverage and finding space to open himself up to receive passes. His catch and release shot is effective, even when his body position isn’t optimal and he has to get kind of an ugly shot off (it isn’t pretty, but it works, as it were). He works hard and isn’t afraid to get to the tough areas and do a bit of the dirty work, or take a bit of punishment if it means creating a scoring chance. Really, that hard work is one of the most key elements of his game—there’s a lot of skill and finesse to his game, but his work ethic really sets him apart. He knows where to go to create offense, and he’s going to give it everything to make it happen, you won't see him giving up on plays easily.
He also already has the benefit of having close to a pro frame already. And while that’s something you could point to and say “he’s more physically mature than some of his peers and he’s going to look better in relation because of it,” that shouldn’t be a massive concern, and is well outweighed by the benefit that it will bring to him when he makes the jump to the college level—his opponents will be as or more physically developed than him, but he does already know how to play well with and leverage his frame, so that takes away some of the learning curve.
And, to dip into the intangibles for a second, McGroarty has also taken on significant leadership roles this season, as he captained his NTDP squad, as well as the US team for the U18s, and that’s certainly something. Teams love that stuff.
What’s not to like?
The biggest knock on McGroarty at the moment is his skating. The good news is that it hasn’t been a massive hinderance to him at the junior level, and he’s able to still to build good speed and his work ethic helps him out in shorter races, but it does remain that the stride is awkward, and the mechanics are going to need some work, particularly in the first few steps from a standstill. He’s done some good work on it already, and he’s going to a program that emphasizes being able to skate, on speed, on moving the puck and generating offense on the rush, so he’s going to have a bit of a sink or swim situation coming his way. All this is to say that at the moment he projects to be a fine skater at the NHL level, this isn’t a deal breaker, but there’s definitely room for improvement here.
How would he fit in the Flyers’ system?
We’ve fallen into a bit of a pocket of wingers on the draft board, so we’ve made this point before, and we’ll be brief in repeating it. The Flyers aren’t terribly thin in the winger department in either their NHL lineup or pipeline, but adding more and particularly quite skilled wingers certainly isn’t a bad idea, so we won't be writing McGroarty off just for that.
Which is a good thing, because the stylistic fit does seem to be a good one. He brings a pretty well rounded game that’s packaged along with having good size, and that does ring as the type of player the Flyers tend to like. And while he’s not held up as a flat out sniper, he does have a very good scoring touch, and that’s something that would certainly give the Flyers a boost. To be a bit reductive, they need more skill players, and he definitely fits that bill.
Could the Flyers actually get him?
It’s a yes here in that McGroarty will indeed be on the board when they make their pick at fifth overall, but should they take him there is a no. That said, if things get really interesting and the Flyers either move back or get another pick in the back half of the first round, that’s more reasonable territory to look into picking him.
We’ll make one addition to the poll:
Filip Mesar — RW, Poprad (Slovakia) — 8 G, 16 P in 37 GP
Mesar’s game is defined by speed and pace. He’s one of the better skaters in this draft, with the ability to burn up the neutral zone to create clean entries with speed. He has good skill and playmaking ability, and shows he can make tough plays with the puck with pace. Mesar lacks size at 5-foot-10 and isn’t an overly physical player. His compete is good enough for me but probably not where you want for an undersized player. I think with his speed, skill and scoring ability he can carve out a career as a top-nine winger though. - Corey Pronman/The Athletic
Who should be no. 19 on the 2022 BSH Community Draft Board
This poll is closed
1. Shane Wright — C, Kingston (OHL)
2. Juraj Slafkovský — LW, TPS (Liiga)
3. Logan Cooley — C, NTDP (USDP/USHL)
4. Simon Nemec — D, HK Nitra (Slovakia)
5. Matthew Savoie — C, Winnipeg (OHL)
6. David Jiricek — D, HC Plzeň (Czechia)
7. Joakim Kemell — W, JYP (Liiga)
8. Conor Geekie — C, Winnipeg (OHL)
9. Frank Nazar — C, NTDP (USDP/USHL)
T-10. Brad Lambert — C, JYP/Pelicans (Liiga)
T-10. Cutter Gauthier — C, NTDP (USDP/USHL)
12. Ivan Miroshnichenko — LW, Omskie Krylia (VHL)
13. Jonathan Lekkerimaki — RW, Djurgårdens IF (Ligga)
14. Danila Yurov — RW, Metallurg Magnitogorsk (KHL)
15. Isaac Howard — LW, NTDP (USDP/USHL)
16. Pavel Mintyukov — D, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
17. Jimmy Snuggerud — RW, US NTDP (USDP/USHL)
18. Rutger McGroarty — LW, US NTDP (USDP/USHL)