The Rangers used their first round pick last night on defenseman Brady Skjei.
On Skjei, Kyle Woodlief of Red Line Report writes at USA Today, “Strong shutdown defender with fine skating ability and decent puck skills. Makes crisp breakouts and can also skate the puck out of danger. He has grown much bigger and stronger over the past year.”
MN Hockey writes, “Some may be alarmed by his low scoring totals, not to worry, this will come with time as Skjei’s a top talent that projects to be a Ryan McDonagh type player.”
Adam Rotter: Defensive depth is clearly something the Rangers are valuing with Dylan McIlrath, Tim Erixon and now Skjei in the system. His skating ability, just like that of Ryan McDonagh, seems to be off the charts and the Rangers would obviously love to see him develop into the same kind of player.
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With the 28th selection in the 2012 NHL Draft, the New York Rangers have selected defenseman Brady Skjei.
He is 6-3, 203 and played for the US Development program.
His favorite NHL player is Cam Fowler and his favorite movie is Miracle.
He was ranked 37th by Future Considerations who write, “A smooth skating two-way defender with enticing upside. His skating is sneaky fast with incredibly explosive acceleration. He utilizes his skilled hands by starting the attack: Rushing the puck up the ice from his defensive zone into the offensive zone before dishing it off or taking a shot. He has a heavy, accurate slapshot that is a weapon from the point. He makes good use of his long reach, showing strong puck protection and good gap control in his own zone.”
“He makes simple, solid touch passes on the rush but needs to utilize his good breakout pass more often. He is at his best when he simplifies his game and moves the puck but also has an eye on his defensive responsibilities; he has a little river boat gambler in him. Questions arise regarding his hockey sense as every time Skjei touches the puck, he wants to take it end-to-end, even with an opposition’s entire defense in his way. He can also fall into funks of being turnover prone, and is sometimes unwilling to just make the simple play. Is the kind of player whose physical ability masks questionable hockey sense. He’s headed to the University of Minnesota.”
The Hockey News ranked him 26th and calls him a “smooth skating defenseman.” The Hockey News says that he is the best skating defenseman available and one scout said “watching him skate is like poetry.”
They add, “He is effortless and massive, which makes him attractive. His skating ability for his size is frightening. “When somebody gets him at the next level and tells him ‘Just be simple and go with your skating stride’ he’ll be a real effective NHLer.”
US National coach Danton Cole says, “His game has improved greatly, both offensively and defensively. He’s a tremendous skater and a good example of a guy who understands the little nuances of playing defense. He’s thrived in the [USNTDP] program and is a physical specimen; he’s big and strong and has made great strides in learning how to play the game. His angling is good and he has put himself in a really good position moving forward in his career.”
Pierre McGuire said, “This is a smart pick by a team that has had good success growing talent.”
Bob McKenzie said he is a good skater with a good stride. He skates like Bret Hedican and he has great skating ability and great ability to recover.