The off-season will have to wait just a bit longer for Rangers rookie defenseman Brady Skjei, who was added the United States Men's National Team roster on Monday and will compete in the IIHF World Championships. The tournament begins on May 6 and runs through the 22nd of May and will be held in Moscow, Russia.
Playing for Team USA will cap an extremely solid first season as a pro for Skjei, who left the University of Minnesota after his junior year last spring to begin his professional career. Skjei spent most of the 2015-16 campaign playing in the minor leagues with the Hartford Wolf Pack, where he recorded 28 points in 68 games.
The 22 year-old Skjei also played in seven regular season games with the Rangers at the NHL level over four different recalls from Hartford. He made his NHL debut on December 15, playing 14:54 in a 4-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers at Madison Square Garden. Two nights later he logged 15:17 worth of ice time while playing against the Wild in his home state of Minnesota. In those seven games Skjei was a +1 and was held without a point.
Skjei certainly made quite the impression during the team's first-round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, appearing in all five games, handling the pressure of playing important minutes in the most important games of the season, and registering the first two points of his National Hockey League career. During the series Skjei picked up two assists, tying Marc Staal for the most assists and points recorded among the defensemen, and he had a +1 plus/minus mark to finish the series as one of only three Rangers that had a plus rating along with Chris Kreider and Dylan McIlrath.
In his NHL post-season debut Skjei was credited with five hits and a shot on goal while playing more than 17 minutes in Game One. Then in the Rangers lone win in the series, 4-2 in Game Two, Skjei assisted on Derick Brassard's go-ahead goal in the second period, while also blocking three shots, recording three hits and playing 19:02. He earned his second point of the series in Game Five by assisting on Rick Nash's game-opening goal.
Skjei, the Rangers first round selection in the 2012 NHL Draft, played for the United States National Development Team for two years before attending college. He has also represented the United States twice before in tournament play--in the Under 18 tournament in 2012 and the World Junior Championships in 2013.
There is the chance, of course, that other Rangers might play in the World Championships. Other countries are filling out their rosters this week, as well ,with announcements still to come.