The National Hockey League announced today that Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei was named to the 2016-17 NHL All-Rookie Team.
Skjei, 23, is the third defenseman in franchise history who has been named to the NHL All-Rookie Team, joining Brian Leetch (1988-89) and Michael Del Zotto (2009-10) as the only defensemen to accomplish the feat. He skated in 80 regular season games with the Rangers in 2016-17, registering five goals and 34 assists for 39 points, along with a plus-11 rating and 42 penalty minutes. Skjei became the first Rangers defenseman to tally at least 39 points in his rookie season since Leetch in 1988-89. In addition, he became the fourth defenseman in franchise history to register at least 30 assists in his rookie season, joining Leetch (48 - 1988-89), Reijo Ruotsalainen (38 - 1981-82), and Ron Greschner (37 - 1974-75).
The 6-3, 211-pounder led all NHL rookies in even strength assists in 2016-17 (27). In addition, Skjei became the first NHL defenseman to tally at least 27 even strength assists in his rookie season since Larry Murphy in 1980-81. Skjei tied for fourth among all NHL defensemen in even strength assists this past season, as he only trailed Duncan Keith, Erik Karlsson, and Brent Burns, and was tied with Victor Hedman.
The Lakeville, Minnesota, native posted a career-high, six-game assist/point streak from Oct. 30, 2016 vs. Tampa Bay to Nov. 8, 2016 vs. Vancouver (seven assists over the span) and became the first Rangers rookie defenseman to post a six-game assist/point streak since Leetch during the 1988-89 season. Skjei led all NHL rookies in assists in November during this past season (nine), and he also led Rangers defensemen in assists during the month. He registered 12 points (one goal, 11 assists) and posted a plus-13 rating over a 16-game span from Jan. 19, 2017 at Toronto to Feb. 25, 2017 at New Jersey, and he was the only NHL player who recorded at least 12 points and a plus-13 rating during the stretch.