New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has agreed to terms with restricted free agent defenseman Brady Skjei on a six-year contract.
Skjei, 24, skated in 82 games with the Rangers this past season, registering four goals and 21 assists for 25 points, along with 39 penalty minutes. He was the only Ranger who skated in all 82 games in 2017-18. Skjei was one of eight NHL players who registered at least 150 shots on goal, was credited with 125 or more hits, and recorded at least 115 blocked shots during the past season. He ranked second on the Rangers in hits (127) and blocked shots (119), ranked third in average ice time (21:01), ranked fifth in shots on goal (153), and tied for sixth in assists (21) in 2017-18. In addition, he led Rangers defensemen in even strength points (18), shots on goal, and hits, and ranked second among team defensemen in goals, assists, and points during the past season. Skjei also led the Rangers in average ice time over a 28-game span from February 9, 2018 until the end of the season (22:59).
The 6-3, 211-pounder has skated in 169 career NHL games over parts of three seasons (2015-16 - 2017-18), all with the Rangers, registering nine goals and 55 assists for 64 points, along with 85 penalty minutes. Over the last two seasons (2016-17 and 2017-18), Skjei ranks ninth among NHL defensemen 24 years old or younger in assists and is tied for 10th among NHL defensemen 24 years old or younger in points. Skjei was named to the NHL's All-Rookie Team in 2016-17, becoming the third defenseman in franchise history to accomplish the feat (along with Brian Leetch and Michael Del Zotto). Skjei registered 39 points (five goals, 34 assists) and a plus-11 rating during the 2016-17 season, and he tied for fourth among NHL defensemen in even strength assists (27); the only other NHL defensemen who recorded at least 27 even strength assists in 2016-17 were Duncan Keith, Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, and Victor Hedman.
Skjei has skated in 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games in his career, registering four goals and three assists for seven points, along with a plus-seven rating and 12 penalty minutes. During the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Skjei registered five points (four goals, one assist) and a plus-six rating in 12 games, and he tied the Rangers record for goals by a rookie defenseman in one playoff year (Reijo Ruotsalainen - 1982). In addition, Skjei became the first Rangers defenseman to either lead the team or tie for the team lead in goals in one playoff year since Leetch in 1995.
The Lakeville, Minnesota native was selected by the Rangers in the first round, 28th overall, of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.