Welcome back, Brady Skjei

Just like Jacob Trouba, Brady Skjei is starting to reappear

It’s time to re-evaluate the defense, apparently. Starting yesterday with Jacob Trouba and his adjustment to New York, his new/old defense partner Brady Skjei is also starting to finally come around. Skjei has been the target of a lot of well deserved criticism, as his play has never matched his rookie season. Currently in the second year of his six-year, $5.25 million deal, Skjei’s performance is under a microscope as Seattle expansion looms.

Skjei, who is also just 25 years old, has up 5-11-16 in 35 games this year, which puts him on pace for 12-25-37 over a full 82 games. What’s interesting is that none of this is coming on the powerplay. Skjei’s most common partner has been Trouba by about 100 minutes, but he’s seen a good amount of time with Tony DeAngelo (184 minutes) as well. Skjei’s been driving significant offense this season, but like Trouba, his defensive numbers are lagging behind a bit:

  • CF%: 48.57 – 1st
  • CF/60: 58.21 – 1st
  • CA/60: 61.63 – 4th
  • xGF%: 47.49 – 2nd
  • xGF/60: 2.6 – 1st
  • xGA/60: 2.87 – 5th

While the defensive numbers look rough, it’s worth noting all of his numbers are better than they were last season, and he’s showing signs of life.

Rob broke this down nicely, looking at how Skjei is performing from year to year. It’s clear this season is better than the rest, and it’s not just the stats showing it. Perhaps it’s because he has Trouba here. Or perhaps he doesn’t necessarily have the weight of being the key focus on the blue line. Or, more likely, it’s just a level of maturity.

For this season, Skjei had a big dip after game 10, recovered for the most part, but has been hovering around 45-50% xGF% and 48-52% CF%. Less of a recovery/adjustment period for Skjei, and more balanced and good –comparatively to the rest of the team– performance this season.

Very few people will be disappointed if Skjei performs like this. Dare I say, he might “earn the contract,” which is a popular phrase online. This uptick in performance is nice to see through 35 games, now it’s a matter of keeping it up. Like Trouba.

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  • The “earn the contract” comes from having a hard cap league, otherwise, who would care what he gets paid?

    I was a big Brady apologist for a while, and while I see improvement, I would not go as far to say that he’s worth his contract cap hit. Because the fact of the matter is that the best D men on the Rangers are the 3 lowest paid D men, Fox, ADA, and Lindgren. Trouba, Skjei, and Staal equal almost $19M of cap hit per year. Can anyone really say that the production of those 3 equal the annual cap hit? Not so far, IMO.

    Trouba and Skjei can get better, Staal is set in stone, and so are his skates.

    • production has not come close to the cap hit.

      But i also said from the beginning that Brady’s LTC was not about the overpayment the first few years when we (thought) we had the excess cash to pay out, but the last 3-4 years when we A)expected to contend and B)got value from buying out a few years of Brady’s UFA Years. Teams need to swing and try to get that Home Run Value Contract in a Hard Capped League, as paying for potential is cheaper than paying for past performance.

      Unfortunately right now it isnt looking like a bargain.

      • I think that at least half of us thought that the Skjei contract would be somewhat worth it.

        Unfortunately, I (we) got sucked into that 2016 playoffs when he and Smith were doing really good things as a D pair. So almost $10M between the 2 of them that we really don’t need.

    • Tony

      As usual nice post, and what we failed to mention is that the team paid the large contract because we needed to replace Mac Truck, but BS isn’t quite up to Mac’s standards. I suspect as the season progresses, Brady will get better if only that he is feeling much more comfortable with Jake back there!!!!!!!!

      Don’t be surprised if we see Miller as a first pair left d-man, and BS will be an expensive 2nd pair guy who may be moved to another team???????????

      • Walt, I believe that Brady’s future team is located in Seattle. I think that he gets exposed in that draft and the expansion team may look at Brady as a fairly young D man who can skate. Hopefully.

        But I agree with you, I do not think that Brady is here for the whole term of his contract.

        The Rangers do seem to miss on these big contracts for D men, don’t they?

        • “The Rangers do seem to miss on these big contracts for D men, don’t they?”
          Show me a team that doesn’t. Karlsson’s making $11.5 million per year for 27 points through 37 games and until 2027. P.K Subban : $9 million for 7 points in 36 games, and for 3 more years. Now, THOSE are bad contracts.

          • To be fair, the Rangers seem to miss on defensemen with more frequency than other teams. Since the 90s this team has traded players like Matthias Norstrom and Sergei Zubov, allowed players like Anton Stralman and Ryan Graves to slip through their hands, while handing out giant contracts to washed-up players like Wade Redden and Dan Boyle. Arguably nobody in the front office has evaluated dmen well for decades.

          • Agreed Joe, but go back to Redden when there was a cap put into the NHL:

            Redden, Girardi, Staal, Boyle, Shatty (not because of Shatty that it was bad), and now possibly Skei and Trouba. Not sure if I missed anyone, there might be others.

            Karlsson’s, Doughty’s and PK’s contracts are laughable. No question.

          • FQ, not signing Stralman was idiotic, and they compounded it by signing Boyle instead for the same annual cap hit.

          • And to think that there were many who wanted Karlsson at all cost because he was Hanks friend. It’s easy when it’s someone else’s money isn’t it????????? When are these GM’s going to start letting these guys start walking………………….

  • Seems like there’s a lot of factors that go into making a defenseman play at his highest level. Being in the right system, being used properly by the HC, gaining experience & developing maturity, and being surrounded by players who compliment them all seem to play a part in their level of play and confidence in themselves. I don’t know if the Rangers have that #1 lock down pair or even have one #1 stud on the roster yet. BS looks like he could flourish with the right combo of the above mentioned factors. Whether that happens while he’s in NY is anyone’s guess. He’s played for two HCs so far and has produced mediocre results. The thing is BS is still young. He could be a steal for another team.

  • I wouldn’t be such worry about Brady, I don’t believe his problems, Trouba… Are the personal matter, I rather believe the system utilized by coaching staff is not working on NHL level

  • Brady is a great skater and is above average at getting his shots through the D. He still gets beat to the outside on a rush and wanders away from his man on net front presence. He’s still bad at passing accuracy and awful at receiving passes accurately.
    Definitely not worth the $ on contract this year and I’m not too optimistic on his improvements.
    Seattle is a hopeful destination.

  • Part of the reason for Brady’s improved play is having a steady partner. Funny how familiarity and chemistry work, eh? Maybe DQ will try leaving pairs and lines alone a while, could be a great concept! 🙂

    • Peter

      You ask for too much, the yo-yo of a coach would have nothing to with himself if he can’t juggle people around!!!!!!!

  • Cap space is the #1 driver of decisions that teams have to make. Is Skjei worth his salary? ADA is due for a nice raise next year. Can we afford both? I look for a possible trade(especially as we fall from playoff potential) of one of them. We have replacements coming from below. Don’t discount the year Keane is having(abberation?). It may all depend on what we do with Kreider!

    • Skjei’s replacement may well be the kid playing in the 20-U tournament right now, Miller, who may well be on our first pair next season!!!!!!!!!

  • Brady Skjei had an unbelievable first year with the Rangers, then, YYYYYAAAAAAWWWWNnnnnnnnnnn.
    #76 is being outplayed by #23 already, #55 will be better then he is defensively if not already, Libor will come back and pass him too, plus a few other youngsters too.


    now while he may get some value back for the team.

    he has peaked and will not every be above average enough for this salary cap hit.


    I’m done with what he brings to the team.

  • The guy plays so soft. If NYR can get a 1st rd pick or 2, they should trade him. There are more young D man coming up in the NYR system.

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