OHL Prospect Profile: Rutger McGroarty

– Rutger McGroarty –

Oakland Jr. Grizzlies U15 (HPHL) | Centre | 2020 OHL Draft Eligible

Lincoln, Nebraska | 6’1”, 175-pounds | March 30th, 2004

Rutger McGroarty is one of the top 2004-born prospects eligible for the 2020 OHL Draft, however, his current commitment to the NCAA and the University of Notre Dame could very well mean that McGroarty will never play a major-junior game. If he does opt for the OHL, however, it goes without saying that McGroarty would be one of the most valuable and highly sought after prospects come the annual Priority Selection.

Related: 2020 OHL Draft Rankings

Boasting terrific speed, intimidating size, a polished skill set and the ability to alter the course of any game he competes within, McGroarty has decisively established himself not only as a top prospect eligible for the 2020 OHL Draft but a game-changing talent poised for selection in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft as well. If he continues to add strength to his frame while standing as a consistent offensive threat on a nightly basis, McGroarty could battle for selection in the top-five overall of the NHL Draft — he is simply that good.

Strengths:

  • Skating Speed, Acceleration, and Strength
  • Puck Handling Abilities
  • Innate Playmaking Prowess
  • Elite Goal-Scoring Ability
  • Two-Way Play

As mentioned above, McGroarty’s skill set and capabilities on the ice are seemingly endless. For McGroarty, his game revolves around his ability to traverse the ice surface. Although of substantial size given his 6-foot-1, 175-pound frame, McGroarty is a smooth and polished skater who can blow past his opponents owing to his speed or fight them off below the goal line given his impressive agility and raw physicality. As a player who drives puck possession for his team, McGroarty can elude opposing players owing to his slick puck-handling abilities — he is decisive as his effective when the puck is on his stick.

These strong foundational skills feed into McGroarty’s lethality on the ice, as the youngster’s ability to create time and space for himself allows him to devise plays and score goals with incredible frequency — he tallied 11 goals in eight games played during the Wendy Dufton Memorial Tournament. Due to the strength and accuracy of his shot, opposing defenders often afford McGroarty far too much time and space with the puck — opportunity which allows McGroarty to view the ice and fire crisp passes to his fellow teammates too. This ability to score goals as well as create them makes McGroarty an unpredictable and persistently potent threat each and every time he takes to the ice — oh, and he plays a complete 200-foot game to boot.

Areas of Improvement:

  • First Step Acceleration
  • Game to Game Consistency

Well, it’s time to nitpick — a to-do that will be extremely hard to accomplish given McGroarty’s on-ice exploits. Of the few areas in need of improvement within McGroarty’s game, first step acceleration and his game to game consistency are the most notable. Although he is a terrific skater, McGroarty would to well to improve his first step acceleration, as the youngster can be caught by his opponents in the short amount of time it takes him to reach full speed — once he’s flying, however, he’s downright unstoppable.

Related: 2020 OHL Draft – Player Profiles

Secondly, there is McGroarty’s game to game consistency. Now, although McGroarty is one of the most devastating 2004-born players on the planet, he can — like any player — have his off days. Fortunately for McGroarty, he has proven his capability to bounce back from difficult games time and time again — usually marked by a multiple point performance. If he can come to make an impact in each and every game which he competes within — offensively or not — McGroarty will quickly establish himself as one of the top young prospects in the hockey world.

Future Projection:

The future is blindingly bright for McGroarty, as he holds the skill-set necessary to develop into a premier offensive player for years to come. Having drawn comparisons to Quinton Byfield of the Sudbury Wolves, McGroarty’s raw strength and polished puck-skills will allow him to dominate each and every level of hockey which he competes within. Further, as he continues to mature physically, McGroarty’s existing skill-set will only become more powerful and more potent — a reality which will instil fear in his opponents regardless of the developmental path which he pursues.

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