Back in June when the Rangers selected Brady Skjei with the 28th overall pick, they definitely knew what they were getting. In a draft where NHL teams matched a record by selecting 13 defenseman, the Rangers may have gotten a steal at the 28th spot. Many people, including myself compare Skjei to Ryan McDonagh, the 23 year old stud blue-liner we all had the pleasure to enjoy watching last season. USA Hockey is hosting their camps for the U-20 WJC which will take place in December.
After camp concluded last week, Chris Peters at the United States of Hockey had a lot of praise for Skjei. "I thought Skjei was Team USA's best defenseman today, away from the shadow of former U18 teammates Seth Jones and Jacob Trouba. Skjei was his normal, slick-skating self, but showed even better puck-moving skills than he's displayed previously in camp. He was working the power-play with Connor Murphy extremely well and got himself involved a little more offensively. He was so sound positionally today, which made things difficult for the Finnish forwards.""belongs in the conversation as a potential No. 5 or 6 defenseman on this team."
Now when Skjei was asked by Rangers beat writer, Jim Cerny about his own game, he said, "I think it went really well. The coaches knew my game going in because of my previous time in the (United States) program, so that provided me a certain comfort level. I just tried to be a solid two-way player for the team, probably more of a shut-down guy. I wanted to showcase my skating, which is probably the best part of my game and is a big part of international play, along with my shut-down abilities. I am happy with how it all went."
He was also asked to report on his two teammates that also belong to the Rangers, Steven Fogarty and JT Miller. "Fogarty had a really good camp as a really good two-way center. He played well in his defensive zone, but also made plays in the offensive zone. And JT, obviously, is a really top talent. He can score. He works hard. And he also has that little edge to his game. They're both really good players.",
Skjei will be attending the University of Minnesota this Fall and will likely leave school to join Team USA in its quest for the gold medal in late December. Fogarty, who will be attending Notre Dame, will most likely do the same in the event that he makes the final roster. JT Miller, a lock for the USA squad, is eager to play in the AHL, but a return to the OHL isn't out of the question just yet. If all three players make the final squad, look for them to have major contributions as they all want the gold medal.