Jets Select Rutger McGroarty in NHL Draft, Three Manitobans Picked – Winnipeg | Globalnews.ca

With two Manitobans already off the board, the Winnipeg Jets used their first pick of the 2022 NHL Draft on American Rutger McGroarty from the US National Team Development Program.

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The Jets used the first of their two first-round picks on the 6-foot-1, 200-pound forward with the 14th overall pick.

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McGroarty, 18, captained the United States to a silver medal at the U-18 World Cup and is a goalscorer. McGroarty scored 35 goals in 54 games last season.

He was ranked 22nd in the final draft rankings.

“I’m excited and I can’t wait to be a Jet one day,” McGroarty said. “I knew I had a good interview with them. We connected well, and it was nothing but respect from those guys.

“Honestly, I had no idea to get in, but I’m excited and I wouldn’t want it to be any other way.”

He’s already committed to playing for the University of Michigan Wolverines starting in the fall, but the Jets’ new head coach is already a fan.

“We’re thrilled to have him,” head coach Rick Bowness said. “I still don’t know much about him. Obviously I can’t see the juniors play anywhere, but I love the attitude of him, I love the passion of him. You could say that right away. So I love that about him. He has a great size. When you have attitude, you have passion, you have size, we will make him a player.”

READ MORE: Canadians select Slafkovsky with No. 1 pick in NHL draft

The Jets had two first-round picks thanks to the Andrew Copp trade with the New York Rangers. With their second first-round pick of the day, the Jets selected center Brad Lambert of Finland 30th overall.

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Lambert was a highly touted prospect, ranked 10th among European skaters, but he fell off the board on draft day after scoring just four goals in 49 games last season with two different teams in his home country. Lambert played in the Finnish top league with the Pelicans and JYP.

He also played for Finland at the 2022 World Junior Hockey Championships before the event was postponed. He won a bronze medal at the 2021 World Juniors where he had one goal and three assists in seven games.

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By the time the Jets’ turn came, Manitobans Conor Geekie and Denton Mateychuk had already been signed.

Geekie, a product of Strathclair, was the first Manitoban taken. The Winnipeg Ice center was drafted 11th overall by the Arizona Coyotes and nearly fell down the stairs in all the excitement as he walked onto the stage.

Back-to-back Manitobans were taken with Denton Mateychuk of the Dominion City Moose Jaw Warriors right after. The blueliner went to the Columbus Blue Jackets with the next pick at 12th overall.

The third and final Manitoban to go on day one was defender Owen Pickering of St. Adolphe. The member of the Swift Current Broncos went to the Pittsburgh Penguins with the 21st pick in the draft.

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Ice forward Matthew Savoie made it into the top 10. The Alberta product was quickly selected by the Buffalo Sabers with the ninth pick.

The Montreal Canadiens used the first pick on Slovak forward Juraj Slafkovsky. Top-ranked prospect Shane Wright slipped to number four on the Seattle Kraken.

The Jets have five more picks in the final six rounds of Friday’s draft.


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