Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2022 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we bring you our Rutger McGroarty Scouting Report.
The captain of Team USA at the IIHF Under-18 World Championships, Rutger McGroarty scored eight goals and one assist for nine points in six games and led the team to a silver medal. McGroarty was named a top-three player on the team. His performance came on the heels of a successful season with the US National Team Development Program Under-18 Team. McGroarty put up 35 goals and 34 assists for 69 games in 54 games with the NTDP against both USHL and NCAA opposition.
McGroarty spent the 2020-21 season with the Under-17 Team. He put up 17 goals and 35 points in 34 games. He also earned a call-up to the Under-18s. McGroarty had three goals and six points in 19 games. He also played at the Under-18s. McGroarty also played for Team USA at the Youth Olympic Games in 2020. He won a silver medal. He put up a goal and two assists for three points in four games.
McGroarty is committed to playing for the University of Michigan Wolverines next season. His CHL rights are owned by the Soo Greyhounds. His father, Jim McGroarty, had a journeyman pro career and has been coaching in the USHL.
Rutger McGroarty Scouting Report
Right Wing/Centre — shoots Left
Born March 30th, 2004 — Lincoln, Nebraska
Height 6’1″ — Weight 200 lbs [185 cm / 91 kg]
Skating is the weakest part of McGroarty’s game. His stride is short and choppy. This robs him of power, acceleration, and top-end speed. McGroarty can keep up with the play well enough at the junior level but has trouble creating separation from defenders. His agility and edgework are above-average but this is another area that he can work on. His ability to get away from defenders and weave through traffic will need to improve in order for McGroarty to take his game to the next level. He is strong for his age. This allows McGroarty to fight through checks as well as to maintain his balance. He is also very good at winning battles on the boards and in front of the net.
McGroarty gets himself into good positions and scores his goals from the home plate area. He is more than willing to play in the high traffic areas and to take a hit to make a play. He gets open in and around the slot, setting himself up for a pass from a teammate. Once that pass comes, McGroarty can fire a wrist shot or snapshot on the net. He generates a lot of power as well. McGroarty’s shots feature a quick release that fools goaltenders. He can also use his size and strength to establish a position in front of the net. He causes havoc and distracts opponents in and around the crease. Once there, McGroarty uses his soft hands to pounce on rebounds and get deflections.
McGroarty has strong puck protection skills. This helps him to be effective in the cycle game, controlling the puck down low and extending possession. He makes smart passes to keep the puck moving as well. However, he plays the safe pass a little too often. McGroarty could work on being a little more creative and making more passes across the ice, in order to set up better-scoring chances. He also struggles in skating with the puck through the neutral zone. This is mainly due to his lack of speed. Instead of generating zone entries, he looks to move the puck to a teammate to carry the puck over the blue line.
McGroarty brings his physical game and high-end work ethic to the defensive zone. While his skating can be a liability and would lead one to think he is the last forward back to his own end, this isn’t the case. McGroarty stays high in the offensive zone and doesn’t overcommit. This good positioning helps his two-way game. He is willing to support the defence down low and battles on the boards. McGroarty loves to look for a big hit. However, there are times he is a bit too aggressive leading to getting caught out of position or penalty issues. Once a turnover is created, or McGroarty is able to get a loose puck, he is very good at getting the puck out of the zone and starting the transition game. This is often through a solid first pass to an open teammate.
Projection and Comparison
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.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Rutger McGroarty that are available on youtube and Twitter.
Here's Rutger McGroarty scoring an ice-cold shorthanded penalty shot goal today.
Insanely casual approach and finish. pic.twitter.com/AB9voglxvY
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) March 20, 2022
Rutger McGroarty keeps on a 3-on-1 and goes post-and-in to make it 4-0 for the NTDPs. That’s 2/4 goals scored in a 2021 showcase by kids who are eligible in… 2022. pic.twitter.com/P59xmzoqw9
— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) April 8, 2021
Rutger McGroarty showing the puck protection and then nifty touch to even up the All-American Prospects game late pic.twitter.com/4sMXxROLjK
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) January 17, 2022
— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisTHN) April 28, 2022
— Ryan McArthur (@ryanpmcarthur) October 12, 2019
— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisTHN) April 26, 2022
Check back tomorrow for our latest 2022 NHL Draft Article.
Rutger McGroarty Scouting Report Main Photo:
You’re going to want to get to know the name Rutger McGroarty.
He’s one of the top prospects in the #2022NHLDraft. He’s the NTDP’s captain. And he’s making hockey history as both.
— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) November 29, 2021