Winnipeg Jets Likely To Trade Their Top Prospect in Surprising Development

The Winnipeg Jets head into next week's NHL Draft at The Sphere in Las Vegas without a first-round pick (traded as part of the Sean Monahan trade with the Montreal Canadiens ahead of the deadline). Now we get word that Winnipeg is considering trading a recent first-rounder, and their top prospect, Rutger McGroarty.

Insider Elliotte Friedman said on Saturday's 32 Thoughts podcast that the Jets are looking into dealing the 2022 No. 14 overall selection. 

The Jets are not talking. But the one thing I can tell you is that I've heard that his name has come up in trade discussions. The Jets have discussed trading, and other teams have discussed acquiring McGroarty's rights. 

After the conclusion of the NCAA season, McGroarty announced that he'd be returning to the University of Michigan for his junior year after a 52-point season (16 goals, 36 assists in 36 games, with a plus/minus rating of +17). He displayed such advanced skills during his sophomore year, on and off the ice, that many felt the 20-year-old could be ready to turn pro after the season.  

The Jets have his rights for two more years, but Mike McIntyre writes in the Winnipeg Free Press that "the two sides are at an apparent impasse over the direction of his career to the point the team may have no choice but to trade his rights or eventually risk losing him for nothing."

Murat Ates of The Athletic sums it all up: "Put simply, he (McGroarty) viewed himself as more ready than the team did... He no longer believes his future is with the Jets. I’m under the impression that a trade is coming — and soon, likely before the draft.”

"He's a good player, and he would be coveted," emphasized Friedman. 

Could the Jets try to make something happen in a deal in order to get back into the first round in next week's draft? Sounds like something could happen here fast.

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