Rutger McGroarty would be a fantastic fit for the NY Islanders

Duel In The D - Michigan State v Michigan
Duel In The D - Michigan State v Michigan / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals hasn't yet been played, but the rumor mill is starting to heat as the first round of the NHL Draft is set to take place this Friday.

The NY Islanders were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs this season, and have failed to advance to the second round in the last three seasons. Changes are indefinite, but how can Lou Lamoriello improve this aging roster with little to work with in the prospect pool?

One of the names in circulation over the last few days is the Winnipeg Jets' former first-round pick, Rutger McGroarty. McGroarty was drafted 14th overall in 2022, spending the previous two seasons playing at the University of Michigan. Since joining the Wolverines, McGroarty has torn up the NCAA, averaging a point-per-game in his freshman campaign (39 points in 39 games), and racking up 52 points (16 G, 36 A) in 36 games.

It's been reported that McGroarty doesn't intend to sign a contract in Winnipeg, and hopes to be moved.

A 6'1" 205 lbs winger from Lincoln, Nebraska, McGroarty was the captain of Team USA at the 2024 World Junior Championship, leading his team to the Gold Medal, finishing with 9 points (5 G, 4 A) in 7 games.

In March, Scott Wheeler of The Athletic ranked McGroarty as his 18th best drafted prospect. Acquiring a player of his stature would surely boost the Islanders' bleak prospect pool, and he could likely be plugged into the linuep this season on an entry-level deal, as the Islanders are already pressed against the salary cap with other moves needing to be made.

Another name the Islanders have been mentioned with is Noklaj Ehlers. Could Lamoriello pull off a deal to acquire both players? Could a package involving Ryan Pulock, a first and third-round pick be enough? Pulock does have a no-trade clause, but a native of Dauphin, Manitoba, he may be enticed by playing closer to home.

It's likely a long shot acquiring both players from the Jets, but it's a deal that would certainly bolster this Islanders lineup.