With the 28th overall selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft Friday night in Pittsburgh, the Rangers picked defenseman Brady Skjei from the US Developmental Program. His selection marked the second time in three years, and fifth in the past eight, in which the Blueshirts drafted a defenseman in the first round.
Dubbed "an elite skater" and "a horse" by Gordie Clark, the Rangers Director of Player Personnel, Skjei will be a Freshman next fall at the University of Minnesota, and the Rangers plan on patience with his development.
"Like with the (Chris) Kreider watch, we'll just have to see when he's ready for the next step to the National Hockey League," said Clark. "He was one of the top kids in the combine, and he was a horse on the ice for the U.S. Under 18 program---moving the puck and on defense. He had the big shot on the point, and he's an elite skater. That's what stands out."
Skjei (pronounced "Shea") stands just under 6-feet-3-inches tall, and weighs a shade under 200 pounds, so he has good size to go along with strong skating skills. In 56 games this past season he scored four goals, added 18 assists, and finished with 22 points.
"I think I have some definite offensive upside," Skjei said moments after being drafted by the Rangers. "I feel like I am a good skater, can get up the ice, and make some good plays."
For his part, Skjei was thrilled to be selected by the Blueshirts.
"I am ecstatic (the Rangers) picked me," said a beaming Skjei. "This whole past year I have been talking about them and that it's the best city and the organization is awesome, so this is a dream come true."
Skjei is especially excited about joining fellow Minnesota-native defenseman Ryan McDonagh in the Rangers organization. And he is equally as thrilled about the style of play the Rangers use at the NHL level.
The 18 year-old resident of Lakevill, MN will join the Rangers at their development camp which begins next Monday.
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