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Thread: [ClearedForContact] Brady Skjei: A New Hope for Rangers Defense

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    [ClearedForContact] Brady Skjei: A New Hope for Rangers Defense

    Since January 1st, shortly after his only healthy scratch of the season, Skjei’s play has reached a new level of consistency that was unseen in the first half. His corsi for during the first 38 games he played prior to January 1st was 47.71%. Since then he’s improved to 52.98%, behind only Adam Clendening, who leads the team at 55.12% in 18 games. Through the seven games played most recently in the month of March, his corsi is a team-leading 51.52% while Adam Clendening, now a healthy scratch, dipped to a 46.67% in his last two appearances. On a team that has largely struggled with puck possession the past few seasons, Skjei’s ability to drive possession helps separate him from the rest of the defensive corps, demonstrating his strengths as a player.
    Skjei’s ability to produce offensively may warrant increased time on what has been a struggling Rangers powerplay. He currently receives an average of 1:01 PP TOI per game, but that time should find itself increasing given his 15 points at even strength over the last 31 games. His ability to produce should only increase with more space. The team would also welcome his ability and willingness to shoot on the man advantage. He is second behind McDonagh with 55 shots (of which 22 have been slapshots) since the start of the New Year. McDonagh has been the defacto man on the point but that should be up for contention given Skjei’s demonstrated offensive abilities.

    Given his play this season, it isn’t out of left field to say that Skjei might soon reach Ryan McDonagh’s level of play or even surpass it. He has a long way to go, but it isn’t as far off as one may have expected even several months ago.

    Situationally their trajectories don’t quite compare given the circumstances McDonagh found himself in when he first joined the team. After being brought up in the spring of 2011 to replace a traded Michal Rozsival, McDonagh played 40 games in the regular season averaging 18:44 TOI/G and then another five in the playoffs averaging 22:49 TOI/G. This would all occur in McDonagh’s first professional season out of college. Skjei, on the other hand, spent most of his first professional season with the Hartford Wolfpack. He is currently in his second professional season averaging 17:01 TOI/G versus the 24:44 McDonagh received in his second professional season as the Rangers top defenseman. There’s no debating the disparate usage between McDonagh and Skjei at the same age and McDonagh was spectacular in his debut. That’s no knock on Skjei, but McDonagh was used in a larger role and performed incredibly well. In just his first full season he had a 44.35 5on5 OZ% meaning that he faced far more defensive assignments. Skjei, on the other hand, has faced a more protected 56.11 5on5 OZ%.

    There’s a disparity in the quality of competition and the assignments faced, but nonetheless, Brady Skjei has performed very well in the role he has been given. Alain Vigneault has made the right move not to rush him along despite the ailing Rangers blueline.
    http://clearedforcontact.com/brady-s...ngers-defense/

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    Solid take from Drew (a Penalty) here. Really helps put into perspective how amazing Skjei's progress has been this season.
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    Through the seven games played most recently in the month of March, his corsi is a team-leading 51.52% while Adam Clendening, now a healthy scratch, dipped to a 46.67% in his last two appearances.
    How, weren't the two partners?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Future View Post
    How, weren't the two partners?
    They were which is weird.

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    The thing I would caution with Skjei and all other rookies is to be careful not to set their standard when they are playing at their best. Skjei is having a heck of a season for a rookie, but we've seen time and again that happen only for the sophomore disappointment. There is promise with Skjei, but like many rookies, this off season will be a time of reflection by both him and the staff, and then he'll be asked to fix problems with his game in order to improve. Some players struggle when trying to change aspects of their game. Some thrive in it and some get completely derailed.

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    Agreed. I think it also remains to be seen how Skjei will compete against tougher competition. For all Skjei is doing, McDonagh was doing it against the likes of Ovechkin at the same age. Skjei has yet to face those kinds of players consistently. It's good that he's doing very well against players in the bottom halves of lineups, but how would he fair against better players? He's got the feet to keep up, but does he have the defense?

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    Skjei, at least at this point, isn't nearly as a heady of a defensive player that Mac was almost from the get-go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Future View Post
    Skjei, at least at this point, isn't nearly as a heady of a defensive player that Mac was almost from the get-go.
    Agreed. McDonagh almost always brings the right tool to the job defensively, whether it's a quick stick, angling an attacking player off, getting physical or simply using his speed to negate a play before it even forms. He's one of the quickest thinking defensemen I've seen in the my time following the game.

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    Skjei and McDonagh's paths are parallel, but they're advancing at different paces. McDonagh is well ahead at the moment.


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    Defensively, yea, but Skjei is as good of an offensive player as Mac was at this point. There's not much to separate them now in that regard.

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    I feel like, if I have 6000 posts on this forum, 3000 are exactly this: "I fucking love Brady Skjei."
    Good article, Drew.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Future View Post
    Defensively, yea, but Skjei is as good of an offensive player as Mac was at this point. There's not much to separate them now in that regard.
    Yeah, that's what I'm speaking to in terms of different paces.


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