FullTilt Forecast: Brady Skjei Rangers future is coming
As we have all heard, Rangers prospect and University of Minnesota defenseman Brady Skjei has signed an ATO (Amateur Try Out) with the Hartford Wolfpack. This should signal the start of his NY Rangers career which could be here sooner rather than later.
The recently turned 21 year old Minnesota native had a trying season in college playing 33 games due to injury. However, he is still the most highly touted Rangers’ defense prospect in the system.
Back in September our own Steven Lofreddo broke down Skjei strengths as follows:
Skjei’s best asset is his skating ability. Not just his flat out speed but his ability to transition, keep pace with speedy forwards, and recover even when he makes mistakes. This is particularly impressive considering he is 6’3 205 pounds. He has good vision and the ability to outlet the puck. Skjei’s entire game is built on his legs as his skating allows him to create lanes and get shots through. Skjei has shown improvements in his offensive game since getting to the NCAA. In 2012-2013 he posted only 3 points in 36 games. However the following year his totals jumped to 14 points in 40 games. Since being drafted Skjei has been compared to Ryan McDonagh mostly for his skating. He has the rangy style to his game he also covers a ton of ice.
So what does the future hold for Skjei as it pertains to getting to the big time? The kid made his debut last night for Hartford and finished with a -1 rating and a shot on goal. While it wasn’t spectacular on the stats sheet, he was still very solid in his debut and didn’t look out of place.
Minnesota’s @BradySkjei #6 looks good in his debut. Plenty of speed, has had a couple of chances in high slot. pic.twitter.com/VONlL0aQAS
— John Buccigross (@Buccigross) April 4, 2015
Now, when you look at the NYR regular 6 d-men and their current contracts two names stand out as an opportunity for Skjei to become a fixture in the future. Keith Yandle and Dan Boyle are both set to become RFA’s at the end of next season and barring some unforeseen change in heart and opinion, Yandle should be re-signed to an extension before the trade deadline. That means Dan Boyle presents the opening Skjei will need to crack the big club.
Brady Skjei will be a top 6 defenseman on the NY Rangers in 2016-17 at the tender age of 22. This will allow him one full AHL season to round out his game in preparation for the NHL.
He will likely partner with Keith Yandle on a 3rd defensive pairing that will make the league jealous that it isn’t their first pairing. The Rangers riches on defense will solidify the Blueshirts as contenders for the next 5 years.