On June 22, 2012 the Rangers selected 18 year-old defenseman Brady Skjei with the 28th overall pick in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft from the United States National Team. Now four years later Skjei has a year of professional hockey under his belt after a three-year stint at the University of Minnesota; and he is expected to compete for a top-six spot on the Rangers blue line in training camp come September.
BlueshirtsUnited.com caught up with Skjei to capture his recollections of that special day four years ago at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
BSU: What do you remember most about your draft day?
Skjei: It's one of my top memories for sure. To be able to share that day with my family and friends, something you've been working towards your whole life, was really special and a lot of fun. Plus it couldn't have been any better than getting picked by the New York Rangers. I remember looking at the board as picks were being made and later in the first round I was hoping I would fall to the Rangers; and then I got lucky and that's exactly what happened.
BSU: So that really was your hope--that the Rangers would select you?
Skjei: Oh for sure. I mean you always hope to get picked as high as possible, but when it got to the 23rd, 24th selections, I was hoping I would slide down to 28 so that I could become a New York Ranger.
BSU: Why did you feel that way about the Rangers?
Skjei: I just wanted to play for the Rangers. I had a good feeling about them, plus Original Six, New York City. That's where I wanted to go, and fortunately it worked out for me.
BSU: How special was it to be there at CONSOL Energy Center, sitting with your parents and family, hear your name called and then to be able to share that moment with them?
Skjei: It was awesome. They had supported my dream my whole life, driving me to the rink early in the morning, sacrificing for me. It was awesome for me to have them there, and obviously they were very proud. It was just an overall unbelievable day, a dream come true.