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Report: Bruins Linked To Winnipeg Jets Top Prospect In Draft Day Trade Rumor

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AP Photo/Colin E. Braley

LAS VEGAS–One way or another, the Boston Bruins are going to add their prospect pool this evening during the first round of the 2024 NHL Draft.

That new addition can come by way of the Bruins making a selection with the 25th overall pick. But perhaps Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has another idea in mind.

According to Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press, the Bruins are in ongoing trade talks with the Winnipeg Jets surrounding former first-round selection Rutger McGroarty.

Taken 14th overall in the 2022 draft, McGroarty is considered to be the top prospect in Winnipeg’s system. A center who possesses natural play-making ability and a high hockey IQ, the 20-year-old center recently completed his latest season at the University of Michigan, where he finished in the top 10 of the NCAA in scoring with 16 goals, 36 assists and 52 points. However, it seems McGroarty no longer foresees a future for himself in Winnipeg, as he and the Jets are reportedly in a disagreement over where he stands in his development.

The Bruins are still very much in win-now mode, currently with the sixth-best NHL betting odds to win the Eastern Conference next year, but they could very much use a prospect of McGroarty’s. Whether the Bruins believe McGroarty is ready for the NHL or not, he’d be a huge boost to their system of prospects, which is among the worst in the league.

If Winnipeg is going to trade McGroarty–which seems to be a foregone conclusion at this point–it will want a high return on its initial investment. The Jets don’t have a pick in the first round of this year’s draft, and getting one back for McGroarty would likely be the baseline of any trade talks.

Meanwhile, the Bruins acquired the 25th overall pick as part of the package they received from the Ottawa Senators in the Linus Ullmark trade and are still accessing their options ahead of the draft this evening.

“That’s not 100%,” said Sweeney on Thursday when asked if the Bruins will use the 25th pick to select a player. “Ideally, we provided a shock to the scouting staff in a good way, and we’re happy to get back into the first round. The players, the board, what it looks like, whether or not we move back, it’s unlikely for us to probably try to move up, but you never cross it out because there might be a guy that our guys are excited about. But getting back into the top part of the draft was important for us.”

Along with the Bruins, teams such as the Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders and Columbus Blue Jackets also have rumored interest in McGroarty. With multiple teams reportedly in trade talks with Winnipeg, it’s likely Boston will need to include more than just pick No. 25 in its offer to win the bidding war, which could play out on the draft floor tonight.

The first round of the 2024 NHL Draft takes place from The Sphere in Las Vegas beginning tonight at 8 p.m. EST.

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