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.
The Edmonton Oilers have assigned center Leon Draisaitl to AHL Bakersfield.
The demotion of Draisaitl, 19, means 21-year-old rookie Anton Slepyshev has made the opening-day roster after scoring twice and adding two assists in exhibition action.
The Oilers experimented during the preseason with Draisaitl, a natural center, on the wing. He didn’t have a particularly poor camp, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.
But Slepyshev apparently impressed more.
“He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Journal. “You can see it.”
Slepyshev played 58 games in the KHL last season, scoring 15 goals for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.
A preseason push by a number of Vancouver Canucks youngsters has left forward Linden Vey and defenseman Frank Corrado on waivers today.
The more surprising name of the two is Corrado, the 22-year-old who entered the season with an excellent chance of making the opening-day roster. However, it seems that rookie d-man Ben Hutton, 22, has been given the nod after finishing an eye-opening preseason with one goal and four assists in seven games. (This despite Hutton being waiver exempt. So it’s a risk for the Canucks, to be sure.)
It was the play of 19-year-old rookie Jared McCann that led, in part, to the waiving of Vey. (For more on that, click here.) Veteran Adam Cracknell remains with the team as well, to some surprise.
Rookie winger Jake Virtanen is also expected to be on Vancouver’s opening-day roster, though that’s no big shock.
Defenseman Alex Biega is also on waivers, as expected.