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Skjei sets sights on roster spot with Rangers

2015 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship - Northeast Regional

2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship - Northeast Regional

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The deck is stacked against Brady Skjei cracking the New York Rangers’ lineup for more than a few games in 2015-16, except for one overriding factor: they want to win now.

With that in mind, he might just have a shot. Maybe.

Seriously though, it will be an uphill battle

On paper, it seems a bit foolish to picture the 21-year-old making it, even as a seventh defenseman.

The Rangers already boast seven blueliners under contract, and that’s assuming that Brett Bellemore cannot convert his PTO into a full contract.

Most teams would require nothing short of brilliance for Skjei to make it, but again, the Rangers are in a position where they might just let the best men win.

Boiling it down

Ultimately, that could mean cutting their losses with someone like Dan Boyle.

Injuries were a problem for the 39-year-old last season, but you know things went poorly when Blueshirt Banter seemed generous in giving him a “C” grade for 2014-15.

It’s tough to bury Boyle and his $4.5 million cap hit on the bench, yet it’s not outside the realm of reason ... especially considering the comparison he inspired from Mike Reilly (who’s trying to make a leap of his own with Minnesota):

“Brady has really grown a lot the past three years at [Minnesota],” Reilly told “He’s a great skater, one of the best I’ve ever seen in college. He’s strong, put on some good weight, and he’s very agile. His stick skills are getting better and I think that’s an underrated part of his game. One player I’d compare him to is Ryan McDonagh in the way he plays and leads. Brady is going to have a great career.”

Skjei boasts the right size and speed to fit right into what Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault is looking for, maybe making him a better option than the likes of Bellmore, Boyle or Raphael Diaz.

It would be foolish to pronounce him as a favorite to do so (or to try to pronounce his last name in general), yet he’s a player to watch during training camp.