NHL Notebook: Top Winnipeg Jets prospect Rutger McGroarty appears in trade talks

Winnipeg Jets Rutger McGroarty
Photo credit:Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK
Ryley Delaney
20 days ago
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A top prospect is on the trade block, a former Calgary Flames defenceman plans to continue playing, an underrated centre in the league underwent surgery, and the abysmal Columbus Blue Jackets signed one of their young players.
Let’s take a look at the latest NHL Notebook!
According to Eliotte Friedman on the latest 32 Thoughts podcast, Winnipeg Jets 2022 first-round pick Rutger McGroarty’s name has come up in trade discussions.
It’s also worth mentioning that the team and the family advisor aren’t speaking, so it makes sense that the 20-year-old will play his junior year at the University of Michigan. As a sophomore at the Big-10 school in 2023-24, McGroarty scored 16 goals and a career-high 52 points in 36 games. This is coming off an 18-goal, 39-point performance in 2022-23.
Earlier this season, fellow 2022 draftee Cutter Gauthier, who also played college hockey in 2023-24, was traded from the Philadelphia Flyers to the Anaheim Ducks. This isn’t the first time a college player’s name has popped up in trade discussions, and it won’t be the last.
The Jets still hold McGroarty’s signing rights for two more seasons.

Mark Giordano will play a few more seasons

In Kevin McGran’s latest article for the Toronto Star, he reported that Mark Giordano’s agent, Rich Winter, said “[Giordano] has made the decision that he’s playing for a few more years. He feels very confident. He’s been talking to a lot of people who tell him: Don’t quit until they make you.”
Giordano isn’t the defenceman he once was. Last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the 40-year-old scored three goals and nine points, down from the four goals and 24 points he had in 78 games last season.
However, age hasn’t stopped the left-shot defencemen from greatness, as he won the 2018-19 Norris Trophy at the age of 35 with 17 goals and 74 points with the Calgary Flames. He spent 15 seasons with Edmonton’s provincial rival, donning the captaincy for his final eight seasons before the Seattle Kraken picked him up in the expansion draft.
Giordano spent less than one full season as the 32nd team’s first captain, before the Maple Leafs traded for him, where he has spent his past three seasons.
Although not a Norris-calibre defender anymore, expect teams to be clamouring for Giordano to play on their third pairing, offering leadership to younger players.

Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin undergoes surgery

Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman had a press conference on Friday, and said that captain Dylan Larkin underwent surgery, but will be ready by training camp, according to 97.1 The Tickets’ Daniella Bruce.
It was a great season for the Detroit Red Wings until about March when Larkin missed time due to injury. Prior to the injury, the Red Wings had a six-point cushion for the first Wild Card spot before slipping up and missing the playoffs due to a tiebreaker. Thus, the team’s postseason drought has hit eight seasons.
Larkin has been an instrumental part of the team since breaking onto the scene in 2015-16. Drafted 15th overall in the 2014 draft, Larkin has 212 goals and 506 points in 652 games on a Detroit team that has very little success. They finally found some competent wingers to play alongside him, and he scored a career-high 33 goals along with 69 points in 68 games. He was on pace to put up 83 points, which also would’ve been a career-high.
Admittedly, I like Detroit as my Eastern Conference team, so hopefully, Larkin returns to full health next season and they can end this playoff drought.

Blue Jackets re-sign Yegor Chinakhov

The Columbus Blue Jackets are going to be a struggling team for the foreseeable future, but they do have a young core of players.
On Friday, the team announced that they had re-signed part of that group in Yegor Chinakhov to a two-year deal worth $2.1 million annually.
Selected 21st overall in the 2020 draft, Chinakhov had his best season yet last year, scoring 16 goals and 29 points in 53 games, surpassing his career-best of seven goals and 14 points in 62 games in 2021-22.
There’s still a lot of work to be done for the Blue Jackets, who finished with 66 points, the fewest in the Eastern Conference and the fourth-fewest in the league last season. In turn, they pick fourth overall in the 2024 draft, where there’ll be plenty of good players available.
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