BSU: How has Brady Skjei looked since he arrived in early April? What improvement have you seen from him in the six or seven weeks you've coached him?
Beukeboom: "He's very coachable. Since he's been here, we haven't had a lot of practice time, especially in the playoffs. Coming out of college, he's picked up the system very well, very easily. He's very adaptable. He has a high hockey IQ where you show him stuff on video and he picks it up right away. He's a student of the game, he watches his own video.
The one thing that stands out more than anything is his skating ability. He's a great natural skater, very fluid and very fast. He's done everything we could have asked from him. We're playing him probably as much as all [of our defensemen]. He's almost 20 minutes a night. He's progressed as far as ice time and everything else. There's not a lot of holes in his game. It's more expeirence than anything now."On McIlrath:BSU: Who has he skated with the most?
Beukeboom: "Mostly Michael Kostka. He's been paired with him for most of the playoffs. Mike's been great for him. He's a veteran in this League and he's got a lot of AHL games under his belt and he's a true professional when it comes to being a great teammate to everyone, not just Brady, but for young guy like Brady, it makes a big different having someone like that beside you."
On Lindberg:BSU: The other defenseman Rangers fans clamour over is Dylan McIlrath. Where do you see his game right now?
Beukeboom: He's playing the best hockey of his professional career. "He's been playing outstanding. He seems to really thrive in the playoff situations. He's playing very physical but at the same time is — knock on wood — he's staying out of the penalty box. He's been one of our most consistent penalty killer with whoever he goes out there with. He's playing a lot of minutes and he's strong and is as strong defensively as he's been as a pro."
"The second-half of this season, he's just taken off. At Christmas, I think he was a minus 11 or 12, and he finished the year a plus-6. He's actually scored a couple big goals for us down the stretch. He's never been better."
http://www.blueshirtsunited.com/arti...ter_1431638384BSU: Up front, Oscar Lindberg seems like a guy who is on the cusp of being an NHLer. Where are you seeing his game at now?
Beukeboom: "He's improved almost it seems monthly incrementally. He's improving to the point where I think he's an NHL player, or real close. People that don't see enough of him don't realize how hard he plays. He's a physical player. He does a lot of grunt work in the corners, in the back of the net and in the front of the net. He's a bit of an agitator for that matter. He gives it and he takes it. He seems to need the body contact and the physicality to play his game. When he's doing that, you know he's on.
"His offense keeps getting better. He's improving his game as a whole on both sides of the puck. He's knocking on the door. He's a prospect that people are saying he's ready or he's almost ready."
Lots of nice takeaways here from the WP's assistant coach, especially McIlrath and Skjei.
Next seasons' camp will be a bit of a make-or-break one for McIlrath specifically considering his contract status. He's still under contract but will require waivers if he fails to make the team. Hard to say one way or another if he makes it through them to go back to Hartford considering the derth of defensemen in the NHL and the premium even half-quality ones go for.
Skjei seems to be in a McDonagh-like approach where he's probably going to start the year in Hartford regardless of his level of play in camp, but may be on the short list of call-ups. Ditto Lindberg, without knowing how the Rangers address Dom Moore. My guess is, with him still under contract another year, they just roll with him and let Lindberg naturally win out a spot. Maybe move DM at the deadline for something? Tough to say this far out.