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Canadiens Trade Talk: Top NHL Prospect Reportedly Available

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montreal canadiens trade target rutger mcgroarty

It’s always important to keep an eye on available players in the NHL’s trade market, particularly for a team like the Montreal Canadiens that is intent on adding more talent to its lineup.

According to Elliotte Friedman, one of the most interesting players in college hockey could be available, though we’re a little light on details when it comes to Winnipeg Jets prospect Rutger McGroarty’s situation.

“His family advisor is not talking, and the Jets are not talking, but the one thing I can tell you is that I have heard his name has come up in trade discussions,” said Friedman. “That the Jets have discussed trading, and other teams have discussed acquiring McGroarty’s rights.”

McGroarty, 20, recently announced he would be heading back to the NCAA for a third season with the University of Michigan, a surprising decision given that most assumed he was more than ready to make his professional hockey debut. The 6’1″ winger scored 16 goals and 36 assists in 36 games for the Wolverines last season.

Speculation As To His Future

Before we discuss what it would potentially cost to acquire a talented prospect such as McGroarty, we have to have an honest discussion about whether he would be inclined to play for a Canadian team. In fact, it’s probably a question Canadian teams should ask, point-blank, during the Scouting Combines.

While there’s been much ink spilled in regard to Russian prospects potentially not coming to North America, it’s important to note that no top-tier Russian prospect has ever refused to play for the team that has drafted him in recent decades, whereas there’s starting to be a growing list of NCAA players who are intent on dictating where they will play. Personally, I like the idea that younger players are taking charge of their future, but the narrative surrounding prospects from the NCAA and the KHL should probably change a little going forward.

Truth be told, Russian prospects have shown great loyalty toward the teams that draft them, whereas there’s a real risk that an NCAA prospect will flat-out refuse to play for certain organizations.

Of course, the Jets and the Canadiens are in different standing throughout the collegiate ranks. One team is building toward the future, while the other is attempting to find success now. The opportunities will be a little more plentiful in Montreal for players like McGroarty. And then there’s the matter of having Kent Hughes as the team’s general manager, a significant boon considering his NCAA connections.

Potential Trade Cost

Before anyone suggests it, no, the Canadiens could not simply return Winnipeg’s 2024 first-round pick to the team in exchange for one of their most highly-touted prospects. Rankings will change, and some may not recognize him as so, but McGroarty is often considered one of the top 10 prospects currently playing outside the NHL, which means you would have to convince the Jets that the trade offer you are sending their way would improve the team.

One option could be to dangle one of the most productive defencemen in the NHL last season, Mike Matheson. The Jets already have Josh Morrissey firmly in place on the top pairing, but Matheson would be a significant upgrade on players like Dylan Samberg or Nate Schmidt. At 30 years old, Matheson could still absorb a lot of minutes for the Jets while providing excellent offensive output from the back-end. He was one of only 10 defencemen to crack the 60-point mark last season, and the only non-RFA that did so while being paid less than $5 million per season.

The Canadiens could also delve into negotiations surrounding many of their young defencemen, as the team is currently enjoying an overabundance of blue liners with fairly high potential.

And, of course, the Habs own impressive draft capital, but as we mentioned early, it will probably take more than just one late first-round pick or a pair of second-round picks to get this done, as any team around the league not inquiring about McGroarty’s price tag should probably replace their general manager. For what it’s worth, Jets management recently said that despite not having a first-round pick in 2024, things could change in a hurry.

This is a situation that definitely calls for due diligence from Kent Hughes and his colleagues throughout the NHL.

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Peter

It will be less than that since everyone now knows that he won’t play there, sort of Adam Fox part 2.

David

Rutger was born in Nebraska, the same state where former Montreal Alouettes Johnny Rodgers was born.

Eddy

it appears that McGroarty is insisting that he play in the NHL and thus would refuse to play in Laval. That does not sound good to me. Probably we are better off without him.

Dana

He was a 14 overall pick. Good prospect but at the time it was considered a weaker draft class. Now he’s leveraging which can be interpreted a number of ways but I think Peter has it right in his assessment above. Good point Marc about Russian players not doing that.

I don’t think a team should give up more than a 14th pick for him or that equivalent, especially considering that this draft class is supposedly better. There is risk with this player. He was a second tier guy in the NDTP, behind Gautier and Cooley on the top line, but ahead of Snuggerud, and drsfted right behind the 2C on that team, Frankie Nazar. He did progress well this year as expected. I’d much rather have Eiserman in my prospect pool than him. I don’t think I’ll worry too much as I suspect Montreal wont be high on his list of preferred destinations.

Pleasant

Where a player was drafted is a snapshot in time of where a group of teenage athletes from one year fit into an assessment and picked in order of ranking.

Since that time that group has merged with all the other non-NHLprospects from multiple drafts and are assessed on an ongoing basis. Multiple 1sts OA, 2nds, 5ths, 13ths 127ths etc etc.

McGroarty or any prospect now being considered a top 10 or even top 20 prospect in a much larger, more developed and accomplished group of league wide prospects overrides where he got drafted as it indicates where that player is now and their increased value. Hutson is a prime example as well.

Dana

I understand how draft lists work but thanks for the summary.

Im not aware that there are formal lists of best players outside of the NHL from reputable organizations that specialize and do updated annual lists like they do with NHL entry draft prospect lists? What are the names of the organizations? Do you read them regularly? So you’re basing your rebuttal of my position that this is a risky guy to trade for and that I wouldn’t offer anything better than a 14th pick or equivalent on what exactly?

Could a hockey writer occasionally do a list, of course. When I looked for one a few minutes ago the first one that came up was from the hockey writers, dated 2017. Shesterkin was ranked 20 out of tge 20 listed. Kaprizov 15. Their top ranked guy was a 36 year old named Sergei Mozaykin.

As mentioned, 2022 was considered a weak draft versus other years. Are there players in that drsft that will be hall of famers, I’d absolutely believe that to be the case, and I hope he wears our #20.

McGroarty played on an elite team and performed well this past year, as I previously mentioned. Went from a ppg to nearly 1.5ppg. He was also a key player for the US at wjhc and he tied 3 others for fourth on team scoring. He did not make the all star team but he contributed well to their gold medal. Lots of good things but nothing screaming incredible prospect. Did he tell Winnipeg not to draft him as he wouldn’t go? As Tyrone says, it appeared he and his family were elated. Now he tells them. So yes, I would take that as a negative.

Artyom Levshunov, a likely top 3 selection next week was asked recently the hardest guys to play against in the NCAA. He said Nazar.

Ps Hutson isn’t religible to be on a list of best players outside the NHL as he’s played 2 games at a ppg average. Reinbacher is eligible.

Tyrone

I was sitting beside his family on day 1 of the draft. They had almost an entire section of people there to support him, and exploded when his name was called by Winnipeg. It would be kinda cool if he ended up playing in the city where he was drafted and his family and friends had such a memorable moment.

Steph6691

I believe it’s important to respect the sport, the organization which drafted you and of course, the fans. The least you can do as a player is play with pride and devotion to the team that drafted you. You don’t have to play your whole career there if you really don’t want to. Imagine the advantage American teams have now. If a highly touted prospect is known to not want to go to Canadian teams, or known to want to go to a specific team (Adam Fox NYR) then they don’t even have to worry about drafting him cause he’ll come to them. They can instead focus on another young, promising prospect to draft and sort of get a 2 for 1 deal. There should be rules to protect the integrity of the draft and not give bigger markets more advantages then they already have.

FlowerPower60

Geography matters too. For some reason, players prefer south Florida over Winterpeg. I wonder why?

Last edited 27 days ago by FlowerPower60
vachacker

McGroaarty probably does not want to play in Canada because of taxes. And even if he did accept Montreal I still wouldn’t want him. NCAA players should not be able to just not sign and declare themselves free agents after 4 years of collage. I get that some of these kids are spoiled brats and force GM’s hand in these situations and it really screws things up. Why do they not get bad reps for this crap but the media wants to hang PLD or other Canadian kids for forcing trades when they have at least given it a try. And please wake up on Matheson, his value is a lot higher than a spoiled brat.

Cnyhabsfan

I wish these writers would stop musing about trading Matheson. He is a known commodity, he wants to play in Montreal, and he can help the young defensemen.

B Seney

Yes but which one of the young kids do you give up to keep a 30 yr old player. Look how fast Petry went downhill after 30. Trade him while he has a market value.