The New York Rangers’ biggest trade of the deadline day wasn’t a move anyone particularly thought they would make, as they dealt 2012 1st round pick Brady Skjei to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a 1st round pick.
The Rangers were looking to shed salary as a result of the Chris Kreider extension (read our article on that here) and a deal was reached just minutes before the deadline. GM Jeff Gorton opted not to trade the team’s talented restricted free agents, such as Ryan Strome (who is having a great season), budding defenseman Tony DeAngelo, or Brendan Lemieux (who leads the team in drawn penalties). Carolina had a spare 1st rounder from their offseason deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs, as they agreed to take on the hefty contract of Patrick Marleau for the pick. The Rangers will get whichever pick is lower between Carolina’s 1st or Toronto’s 1st in this deal for Skjei.
We think trading Skjei for this return was a spectacular trade for Gorton and his team, as we have three seasons of data on Brady Skjei, and he has a -4.11 career AB score over that time period. He has never registered a positive individual AB season in his career, including an abysmal -7.48 score in 2017. In his 60 games with the Rangers, Skjei had a 18:5 penalty taken/drawn ratio. In 6 games with the Hurricanes, he has a much better 1:4 ratio. He also has a much better giveaway takeaway ratio in Carolina at 3:6 compared to his 52:30 ratio in New York. Both ratios appear to be better, and perhaps a change of scenery was best for Skjei’s career. Skjei is -8 on the season and makes $5.25 million for the next four years as a 25-year old defenseman. Under now-former coach David Quinn, he played almost forty seconds more than his previous career average of 20:01. In Carolina, he’s averaging north of 21 minutes per game under Coach Rod Brind’Amour. Dailyfaceoff.com states that Skjei is currently paired 2014 7th overall pick Haydn Fleury, who is still working on becoming the elite defenseman the Hurricanes want him to be.
The Rangers are trying to make an improbable playoff run on the back of incredible hot streaks from Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad. They are currently 36-28-4, with 76 points in 68 games played, and are three points back of the 2nd wildcard spot. They have a 6-4 record in their last 10 games, and it will surely be interesting to see how they play over the course of the final month of the 2019-20 regular season. More to come.