Kent Hughes and the Montreal Canadiens avoid the Diva

The Montreal Canadiens and their general manager Kent Hughes can breathe a sigh of relief.

Winnipeg Jets prospect Rutger McGroarty, whose name was circulating in trade rumors before the June draft, ultimately did not pack his bags for Montreal.

Now, it’s the middle of July and McGroarty’s situation remains at a standstill.

On closer inspection, it appears that Hughes probably avoided a real little diva, thus saving Montreal some potential headaches.

Rutger McGroarty, selected in the first round by the Jets in 2022, appeared ready to leave Winnipeg.

His future with the organization became uncertain when the Jets were unable to guarantee him an NHL roster spot or significant ice time.

While his University of Michigan teammates, such as Adam Fantilli and Luke Hughes, were making their NHL debuts, McGroarty found his path to the big league blocked by the Jets’ cautious development policy.

Teams interested in McGroarty have been put off by his high demands.

He wanted not only a professional contract, but also assurances of playing immediately in the NHL and having significant playing time.

Those demands put Winnipeg in a difficult position, as the player refused to sign without those guarantees, preferring to remain in the NCAA for a third season with the University of Michigan.

This behavior led some observers to say that McGroarty had the attitude of a “little diva.”

His refusal to sign with the Jets, his desire to follow in his teammates’ footsteps in the NHL without going through the development stage, and his high demands have cast doubt on his professionalism and attitude.

It was clear that this young man could cause headaches for any organization that tried to acquire him.

By not acquiring McGroarty, Kent Hughes has arguably avoided introducing a potential source of tension into the team.

Montreal, with its unique challenges, does not need players reluctant to conform to development plans.

McGroarty’s high expectations and demanding attitude could have created a difficult environment, disrupting team dynamics and the progression of other young talents.

While McGroarty continues to make waves with his demands and refusals to sign, the Montreal Canadiens and Kent Hughes can congratulate themselves for not having given in to the sirens of this transaction.

By avoiding acquiring a player whose attitude and demands could undermine team harmony, Montreal is once again showing that it is important to prioritize character and work ethic, as much as raw talent, in building a championship team.

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