You could say the Rangers have a gem of a defenseman in Ryan McDonagh. What would you say if they had another blue liner just like him waiting in the wings?
That seemingly unfair possibility is true if one high-ranking member of the organization is right about the team’s 2012 first-round pick Brady Skjei as Katie Strang of ESPN-New York reports.
“I think that’s a fair comparison,” Rangers assistant general manager Jeff Gorton said. “He’s a tremendous skater, he has size and a lot of potential.”
That size comes from an 18 year-old who is 6’3″ and 200 pounds and his skating ability and speed is what makes him a likely member of this year’s Team USA World Junior Championships squad. With this year’s tournament in Russia on the larger, international-sized ice sheet, Skjei’s abilities will be put to the test in a big way.
Meanwhile, if Gorton’s high opinion pans out, you’re looking at a Rangers blue line that could have McDonagh, Skjei, Marc Staal, and Michael Del Zotto in the coming years. That might not be too bad.
For now, Skjei has his time with the University of Minnesota and playing for his country to worry about before potentially hitting Broadway.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.