The New York Rangers selected defenseman Brady Skjei in the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft, 28th overall. BlueShirts United caught up with the young man in Pittsburgh and talked to him about what it meant to be drafted, and specifically to be drafted one of the original six teams in the NHL. Skjei said he was overwhelmed with excitement, and "couldn't have asked for a better team to be drafted by." As he put it:
"I've always been a big New York Rangers fan, the whole year my dad and me were saying the best team to play for would be the Rangers, just the way they play and the city to live in."
Skjei has drawn comparison to Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, and he echoed those comparisons. Referring to himself as a "smooth skating two way defenseman," the 6-foot-3, 200-pound young man noted that skating was the best part of his game, but also that he had "a lot of room for improvement" and that he had to keep growing.
The Rangers official website noted Skjei's accomplishments in his young career:
Skjei, 18, skated in 60 games with the U.S. National Under-18 Team (USHL) last season, registering four goals and 19 assists for 23 points, along with 36 penalty minutes. He established USHL career-highs in games played, assists, points, and penalty minutes. Skjei tied for seventh on the team overall in assists, and tied for third among team defensemen in points and ranked fourth in assists.
The Lakeville, Minnesota native helped Team USA capture the gold medal at the Under-18 World Championship, recording one assist, 10 shots on goal and a plus-10 rating in six tournament contests. His plus-10 rating led all tournament skaters.
Skjei is a player with a ton of potential, and time will tell whether Rangers fans have as much reason to be excited as Skjei does.