Brady Skjei has never faced defenseman Ryan Lindgren, but he knows quite a bit about him.
"I played with his older brother all the way growing up, and [Ryan] … was always that little brother that we were messing around with," Skjei said of Lindgren, who was part of the trade with Boston earlier this morning for Rick Nash. 'It's pretty funny to see him up here."
While they have never competed against one another in anything more than neighborhood games, Skjei knows a bit about Lindgren's style, which has taken him along the same path as Skjei as a blueliner at the University of Minnesota.
"He's a really good player," he said. "He's hard to play against., He's a smart defenseman. I'm happy for him and I'll give him a call to welcome him."
The 20-year-old Lindgren stands 6-foot and weighs in at 202 pounds and is an alternate captain with the Golden Gophers despite being just a sophomore. He has two goals and five assists to go along with 49 penalty minutes in 33 games this season.
Lindgren, who hails from Burnsville, Minn., has plenty of experience on the international level, having represented the United States at the 2017 and 2018 World Junior Championships, capturing bronze and gold, respectively. He served as captain of the U.S. squad at the 2016 U18 Championship, where he had five points in seven games to earn bronze.
"He's definitely a character player," Skjei said of Lindgren. "He's hard to play against. He plays with an emotion and compete level. What I know of him, he shuts down the other team's top line. He's a really good player. I'm really excited to have him be part of the organization. He'll definitely be a guy in the future that'll help us."
The addition of another Minnesota boy to the locker room is never a bad thing, either, in Skjei's eyes.
"We're getting a lot more now," Skjei said with a laugh. "We've got what, four or five now? We're taking over the Boston guys, I think. It's nice to have some Minnesota guys in here. Just guys that you grew up with or know from your childhood. It's been a lot of fun."
In addition to the second-round pick, the Rangers acquired defensive prospect Yegor Rykov from the Devils in exchange for Michael Grabner.
Rykov, 20, crossed paths with current Blueshirt Pavel Buchnevich after Buchnevich was traded to SKA St. Petersburg in the Kontinental Hockey League, the same club Rykov was part of then and still remains with today.
"He's a good player," Buchnevich said of Rykov, who has two goals and 14 points in 51 games this season. "He's a good skater and is good at moving the puck. He's a quiet, quiet kid. I like him a lot."
The two never played together because Buchnevich said it's difficult for 18-year-old defensemen - which Rykov was at the time - to make a club like SKA.
"It's a tough to make that team, but he was a very good player," he said.
While Buchnevich said they're not close friends, he did reach out to Rykov via text after he learned of the trade.
"I texted him right away," he said. "I said congrats and he said he's happy" to join the Rangers.