The Toronto Maple Leafs Should Want This Top Prospect from the Jets

2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The Toronto Maple Leafs have some exciting young players that should challenge to make the team out of training camp next season.

Easton Cowen and Fraser Minten are the two prospects that many Toronto Maple Leafs fans are penciling in to the 2024-25 lineup.

Minten had another great season in the WHL scoring 48 points in 43 games after he played 4 games for the Maple Leafs to start the 2023-24 season. He helped Saskatoon to a semi-final matchup against the Moose Jaw Warriors, but they lost in six games to the eventual WHL champions.

Back in Ontario, Easton Cowen tore up the OHL. Cowen finished tied for seventh in regular season scoring and had a 34-game point streak in the regular season, breaking the London Knights franchise record. He also won the OHL Playoff MVP, leading the Knights to an OHL Cup championship. (All stats

The Toronto Maple Leafs Should Want This Top Prospect from the Jets

Minten and Cowen are great prospects in the Maple Leafs system but beyond them the cupboards are quite empty.

Defenseman Topi Niemela and Goaltender Artur Akhtyamov both have the potential to be contributors in the NHL one day, but no one is sure when that will be.

Needless to say, the Maple Leafs do not have many young players who are near NHL ready, so when one, such as Winnipeg's Rutger McGroarty, becomes available, they should be making calls to see what the price is.

McGroarty is an American born C/LW who was selected 14th overall in the 2022 NHL draft.

He played for the United States National Development Team Program (USNDTP) in his draft year, scoring over a point per game. In the last two seasons, he has played at the University of Michigan and been among the team's highest scorers.

McGroarty has also been on the USA World Junior team the past two tournaments, captaining the team in 2024 to a gold medal.

This past season, McGroarty was among the NCAA scoring leaders with 52 points in 36 games. He is described as a highly skilled and versatile forward who uses his hockey IQ and scoring ability to dominate in the offensive zone. However, his awkward skating stride hinders his speed and is seen as his biggest weakness.

After two successful seasons in the NCAA, Elliotte Friedman recently reported that McGroarty wanted to sign with the Winnipeg Jets and play games at the end of the 2023-24 regular season.

With the Jets being in contention for first in the division and trying to build momentum into playoffs they could not guarentee McGroarty would be in the line up.

This was reportedly when the relationship between Winnipeg and the McGroarty camp deteriorated. McGroarty decided he would return to Michigan for the 2024-25 season soon after he was told the Jets would not sign him.

Now, it is widely believed that McGroarty will be moved this off-season.

The Maple Leafs had their eyes set on McGroarty back in 2022 at the Draft combine. He grew up a Leafs fan because his father, Jim McGroarty, grew up in Mississauga, ON.


Whether the Leafs still have interest has yet to be proven, but a player of his age and skill set would fit nicely with the Maple Leafs if they were to get a deal done.