After two years of doing a virtual draft, the NHL is back in person and from what I can tell the general managers went out last night, got drunk, and then continued their party at the draft today with wild trades and players falling. The Winnipeg Jets did not take advantage of any of this.
There are two thoughts to the draft: draft for need or draft best player available. The best player available is subjective, but can often be defined as “player falling for no reason other than size”. Sometimes teams can be justified in not drafting a player who has fallen in the draft for no reason and other times it becomes a question of “you did what?”. The Jets are hoping for the former with the drafting of Rutger McGroarty. McGroarty spent the past couple of years with the USNTDP and will go to University of Michigan next year.
McGroarty is a player who played in 79 games last season and scored 102 points overall. He is not a bad player and he is probably a safe bet to make the NHL at 14 overall. But he is not someone like Cole Perfetti who had more skill, but was just small. And that is where the Jets deviated from their recent draft strategy.
McGroarty is a hardworking and industrious player who can attack the slot, but lacks the high end skill that some players have. He could end up a higher end player, but that would require everything going exactly right and a touch of luck. This isn’t a bad pick though, it is just a pick that people did not expect because of who fell from the top ten. Hopefully McGroarty ends up a great pick for them.