Sticking with the plan (despite the emotional loss)
The Rangers have stockpiled left defenseman through this rebuild and moving Skjei says that they are confident in the deep prospect pool they have and are still building on the blue-line. Plus, if you hadn’t noticed, barring certain games, Skjei’s reliability in his own zone has taken a hit this season. Just like when Stepan was dealt in 2017, it was either act now on a first-rounder or pass and risk Skjei losing trade value.
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So, while losing a fan-favorite and first pair defenseman who had obvious chemistry with his long-time buddy, Jacob Trouba, hurts momentarily, it’s beneficial in keeping what is currently going on intact and adding for the future.
The day could have been much more dramatic than it was. I’m satisfied with the fact that Gorton and Rangers President John Davidson have recognized the potential of this year’s group, while still finding a way to stick to the rebuilding plan.
While the above can all be acknowledged, it’s still deadline season. For New York Rangers fans the past several years it’s become a perennial time for sentiment. Many long-time team heroes have gone on to other teams.
So with that said, Brady Skjei between your first call-up in 2015, the gruesome chin injury in 2016, the multi-goal playoff game in 2017 against Ottawa, your bromance with Kevin Hayes and Jimmy Vesey, and just even this past week scoring on that flukey wrap-around, we appreciated your grind. You truly embodied the essence of a hockey player and what it means to put on a Rangers sweater. Thank you, No. 76.