Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei inked a six-year deal with the Rangers on July 28, and after he chatted with NYRangers.com about the deal and his expectations for this year and beyond.
NYR.com: Congratulations on the new contract. What's your reaction to staying with the Rangers for six more seasons?
BS: "It was very exciting. I had eight buddies up from high school at the cabin. We were gathering around waiting for the phone call. I'm excited to be in New York for the next six years."
NYR: You get to spend the next chunk of your career playing at The Garden in front of Rangers fans. What's the message to them?
BS: "There's no other team that I would want to be with than the New York Rangers. I love calling MSG home and our fans are so passionate. For the next six years, the only thing I want to do is win. We have a lot of young guys looking to prove themselves. It's going to be a good time to be a Rangers fan."
NYR: Where do you see your game growing as you enter into the prime of your career?
BS: "I think I can get better at all situations. Offensively I want to produce more. Defensively, I have the ability to shut down the other team's top lines. I want to improve on both sides of the puck."
NYR: Excited for the new coaching staff coming in?
BS: "I'm very excited. I played for coach Quinn at the World Juniors. We didn't talk much there, but what I've heard about him and from my talks with him since he's been hired, I think he's the perfect fit for what we're going through as an organization and a team.
"I played for Greg Brown at the World Championships, and loved playing for him at that tournament. It's very exciting for us that we have this new staff coming in. It's going to be a fun, good year for sure."
NYR: You mentioned young players coming in with something to prove. Do you view yourself now as a young veteran on this team, and someone rookies can turn to for guidance and advice?
BS: "I see myself as a leader, and I think management does as well. I want to take a step in that direction. Last year, I got thrown into that with a lot of young guys coming in. I think I'm an easy guy to talk to. Any questions that they have, they can come to me. I had more of a leadership role the last few months, but I think I can take a few more steps."
NYR: We're just about in August, and training camp is about six weeks away. What's the excitement level at this point in the summer?
BS: "I'm jacked. It gets to the point in the summer where you're ready to head back and start playing again. It's that time of summer for sure that you're looking forward to those first games in October and getting things going."