The Winnipeg Jets selected forward Rutger McGroarty with the 14th-overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.
McGroarty was among the talented crop of players to come out of the U.S. National Team Development Program this year.
The Lincoln, Neb., native led the USNTDP with 35 goals in 54 games and was named one of the top three players on Team USA at the U18 world championship en route to winning silver.
Three of his USNTDP teammates – Logan Cooley (No. 3), Cutter Gauthier (No. 5) and Frank Nazar (No. 13) – were drafted ahead of him Thursday night.
“The competitive nature of that program, you’re with 23 of the best players in America at your age group and we had a competitive bunch the last two years, and it was a lot of fun working with those guys and competing with them in small area games or in the weight room or wherever it is,” McGroarty told Sportsnet at the NHL Scouting Combine in June.
McGroarty is committed to playing for the University of Michigan next season, the same school Jets star forward Kyle Connor attended.
This summer marks a pivotal off-season for a Jets team that failed to qualify for the post-season for the first time in five years.
The team hired Rick Bowness as its new head coach last week, replacing interim bench boss Dave Lowry who stepped in after Paul Maurice’s December resignation.
Winnipeg general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff must also decide what to do with his team’s pending restricted free agents. The most notable of those RFAs is Pierre-Luc Dubois, who informed the Jets in June that he plans on testing unrestricted free agency in two years when he is UFA eligible.
Connor, Nikolaj Ehlers and Adam Lowry are the only Jets forwards locked up beyond the 2023-24 season.
This is the third consecutive year in which the Jets have used their first-round pick to select a forward, taking Cole Perfetti in 2020 and USNTDP alumnus Chaz Lucius in 2021.
This No. 14 pick was Winnipeg's; the team also held the No. 30 overall pick that they acquired from the New York Rangers in the Andrew Copp trade.