The Anaheim Ducks are going into the first round next week armed with two first-round selections, the first being their original selection, and the second coming at 22 overall, by way of the Boston Bruins, thanks to a trade deadline move that sent Hampus Lindholm to the Eastern Conference.
Anaheim Calling have already had the pleasure of drafting Seattle Thunderbirds Defenseman Kevin Korchinski with pick number 10.
A look at the draft board so far:
1. Shane Wright — Montreal Canadiens
2. Logan Cooley — New Jersey Devils
3. Juraj Slafkovsky — Arizona Coyotes
4. Simon Nemec — Seattle Kraken
5. David Jiricek — Philadelphia Flyers
6. Cutter Gauthier — Columbus Blue Jackets
7. Joakim Kemell — Ottawa Senators
8. Matthew Savoie — Detroit Red Wings
9. Connor Geekie — Buffalo Sabres
10. Kevin Korchinski — Anaheim Ducks
11. Jonathan Lekkerimäki — San Jose Sharks
12. Frank Nazar — Columbus Blue Jackets
13. Marco Kasper — New York Islanders
14. Danila Yurov — Winnipeg Jets
15. Liam Ohgren — Vancouver Canucks
16. Brad Lambert — Buffalo Sabres
17. Pavel Mintyukov — Nashville Predators
18. Lian Bichsel — Dallas Stars
19. Isaac Howard — LA Kings
20. Denton Mateychuk — Washington Capitals
21. Ivan Miroshinichenko — Pittsburgh Penguins
With the 22nd pick in the 2022 Draft, Anaheim Calling selects center Rutger McGroarty from the USNTDP and University of Michigan commit.
Who is Rutger McGroarty?
Aside from having the best name in the entire draft, Rutger McGroarty is a 6-foot-1, 205-pound forward coming from the US National Team Development Program. He was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, and is the son of Muskegon Lumberjacks general manager Jim McGroarty.
Before joining the USNTDP, McGroarty scored 160 points in 63 games for the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies 15U team, including 82 goals. With the USNTDP U18 team last season, he scored a very nice 69 points in 54 games, and in USNTDP Juniors, he chipped in another 33 points in 25 games. He has committed to attending the University of Michigan this fall, a program known for pumping out high-end draft picks, including Thomas Bordeleau, Owen Power, Kent Johnson and Matty Beniers. McGroarty has also been invited to the 2022 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp in an effort to make Team USA for the World Juniors Championship this August.
McGroarty is an absolute weapon in the offensive zone. His playmaking skills are next level, and he can generate chances from just about anywhere in the attacking third of the ice. Aside from generating chances of his own, McGroarty is just as capable of tucking home his teammates chances too.
Why Rutger McGroarty?
Again, how can you not like the name? But on the ice, McGroarty can play in all three zones. The USNTDP harps on playing a strong defensive game, and McGroarty can add a ton of offense, as well. He is a power forward who is willing to go to the dirty areas of the ice to screen goaltenders, but also has excellent vision to find his teammates. He would add size down the middle for the Ducks, and has the ability to play up and down the line-up if needed. McGroarty can play in all situations, easing the pressure on Trevor Zegras and Mason McTavish.
If the Ducks are running out Zegras, McTavish and McGroarty down the middle, that will rival any team in the Pacific Division, on top of adding Kevin Korchinski to make the best defense. This has the makings of a contending team. McGroarty projects to be an elite 3C who can play in the top-6 if needed. His development at the University of Michigan will help him work on the flaws in his skating mechanics and be more consistent on a nightly basis.
Why Not Rutger McGroarty?
At this point in the draft board, there are still some players with higher upside. Getting a relatively “safe” pick with defenseman Kevin Korchinski at 10th overall would allow for a bigger swing at a riskier player who has more upside at 22. Jimmy Snuggerud, for example, has a higher ceiling, thanks to his elite shot that may already be flirting with being NHL-caliber. Noah Östlund, a Swedish center, is a bit smaller than McGroarty, but could be very much in the same vein as San Jose Sharks prospect William Eklund with his creativity, passing and ability to manipulate the ice to get his teammates more time and space.
The feeling exiting this first round was to try to add two players who can help contribute to the Ducks' budding stars, and Kevin Korchinski and Rutger McGroarty feel like pieces that can help take the load off the stars by being able to play their roles efficiently and effectively.