Tag: Brady Skjei

Jake McCabe

World Juniors: Team USA cuts Skjei and Matteau, name McCabe captain


Team USA’s roster for the World Junior Championships is nearly set.

Early this morning, the team announced they cut defenseman Brady Skjei (2012 Rangers first-round pick) and forward Stefan Matteau (2012 Devils first-round pick) to get the roster down to 24 players. They’re awaiting medical news to figure out which defenseman will be the final player cut before the tournament starts on December 26.

Reportedly, it’s Coyotes 2011 first-round pick Connor Murphy that they’re waiting on. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports he took a puck in the neck and If he’s healthy enough to go for the tournament, he’ll make the cut and head to Ufa.

In the meantime, USA Hockey announced defenseman Jake McCabe as the team captain (pictured). McCabe was the Buffalo Sabres’ second round pick in 2012. Earning the “A” were blue liners Jacob Trouba and Seth Miller as well as forwards Cole Bardreau and J.T. Miller.

Rangers assistant GM thinks 2012 first-rounder Skjei a lot like McDonagh

Brady Skjei

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.

Team USA’s World Juniors confidence comes from their defense

Seth Jones

HAWTHORNE, NY — One of the strengths Team USA will have when they head into the World Junior Championships is on their blue line. With a future star in 2013 draft prospect Seth Jones as well as three first-round picks in Jacob Trouba, Connor Murphy, and Brady Skjei the American defense will be huge.

One thing is for sure, the guys on the ice believe in the crew they’ve got on the back line as well.

“I think we have a great blue line,” says 2012 Winnipeg Jets first-rounder Jacob Trouba. “We have some diversity with big guys and we have some smaller guys who are shifty. Whoever ends up coming to the tournament, we’ll be good on the blue line.”

Rangers 2012 first-rounder Brady Skjei agrees with him.

“I think we all have a feel for each other. With Jones and Trouba and all them the last couple years, we’re pretty confident we’re a solid D corps.”

The big guys we’ve mentioned already. The small, shifty ones are guys like 2012 third-round picks Matt Grzelcyk (Boston) and Shayne Gostisbehere (Philadelphia). They may not deliver the body, but their quickness and playmaking ability could be useful on the international-sized ice. That’s something coach, and one-time shifty defenseman himself, Phil Housley noticed right away.

“I look at our back end as a whole; I think there’s a lot of guys that can fit that mold,” Housley said. “Certainly Grzelcyk, Gostisbehere and [Mike] Reilly, they have that uncanny ability to jump up in the play.”

While playing on a bigger ice surface doesn’t bother any of the players, the star power they’ll face in Russia is another story. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will lead the way for Canada while the hosts will have guys like Mikhail Grigorenko and Nail Yakupov.

Could the Americans get psyched out by the star power they’ll see from their opponents?

“Not really. We’ve got plenty talent on our team too,” Trouba said. “One player is nothing huge. We’ve played against a lot of them in the past. They’re good but they’re still hockey players too.”