Jets prospect Rutger McGroarty wants out in Winnipeg and is a huge Leafs fan

Mike Armenti
June 23, 2024  (1:10 PM)

Rutger McGroarty
Photo credit: TSN

The Winnipeg Jets are attempting to move 2023 1st round draft pick Rutger McGroarty this summer and he just happens to be a huge Maple Leafs fan.

During the NHL's Scouting Combine in 2022, the Maple Leafs met with Rutger McGroarty, who were obviously enamored with his skill set. In the end, McGroarty was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets with the 14th overall pick and the Leafs traded out of the first round entirely, selecting Fraser Minten near the top of the 2nd round.
As impressed with McGroarty as they were at the time, it paled in comparison to how the young forward viewed the Leafs. McGroarty, whose father is from Mississauga originally, grew up a Leafs fan and appeared to want nothing more than to be drafted by his favourite team.
Now, with his trade request coming to light, there's a possibility that his dream becomes a reality.
At this point, according to Murat Ates of The Athletic, McGroarty and the Jets' development staff don't see eye-to-eye on how his development should be handled. One of the NCAA's most outstanding players, McGroarty is very close to NHL-ready and it is believed that the Jets did not see him in their plans for next season.
During the 2022 Scouting Combine, McGroarty had very openly stated that he'd relish the opportunity to play alongside Auston Matthews one day.
"If anyone got the opportunity to play with him they'd be pretty amped."
-McGroarty on Matthews in 2022

He also confirmed that he'd be comfortable under the bright spotlight in Toronto, mentioning his connections to several players in the area and emphasizing his rabid Leafs fandom.
"I feel like I could definitely add that leadership ability. I could come in and bring that compete and energy. Being a kid that's always been a Toronto fan, I've always been a big fan of them. And I got a lot of friends up there so I feel like I'd be comfortable in the Toronto area."

At the moment, there have been no links between the Leafs and Jets on trade discussions involving McGroarty, but with how interested Wes Clark and the scouting staff was in him in 2022, could we see the scouting staff try to sway Brad Treliving into acquiring the 6'1, 200-pound winger, who idolizes Auston Matthews?
McGroarty produced 16 goals and 52 points in 36 games for the University of Michigan in 2023-24.
Source: Rutger McGroarty at the 2022 NHL Scouting Combine
USNTDP standout confirms interview with the Leafs, reveals he's a huge Leafs fan and wants to play with Matthews
Source: Murat Ates, The Athletic
What I'm hearing about why Winnipeg Jets top prospect Rutger McGroarty is in trade talks
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Jets prospect Rutger McGroarty wants out in Winnipeg and is a huge Leafs fan

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