Brady Skjei and the New York Rangers finally came to an agreement on a contract extension Saturday, a deal that looks great for both sides.
Brady Skjei will not be leaving the New York Rangers any time soon.
OFFICIAL: #NYR have agreed to terms with restricted free agent defenseman Brady Skjei on a six-year contract. pic.twitter.com/ZZQWrC3hHb
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) July 28, 2018
The Blueshirts’ announced that they had signed the 24-year-old defenseman to a six-year contract, with an AAV of reportedly $5.25 million.
This deal has to be considered a win for both Skjei and general manager Jeff Gorton. For Skjei, he gets long-term security with the team that drafted him 28th overall in 2012. He is locked into the only place that the has ever known, a place where he is comfortable and can start building a home in.
It sounds a bit cheesy, but any athlete will tell you that their game is not their best when there is a large question mark surrounding their future. The perfect example of that was on the Rangers roster a season ago in Mats Zuccarello. As the Blueshirts started to deal some of their veteran players, Zuccarello said it was a distraction for him. With Sjkei locked in for the next six years, the distraction is gone.
From a team point of view, the Rangers made out very well with this signing.
Skjei has shown flashes of the type of player he can be. His rookie year saw him put up a 39-point season, a pleasant surprise to many in the organization.
He has the ability to do it all and to get him locked in for six years just north of five million dollars, Ranger fans should be rejoicing at this deal. But money is not the most exciting part of this deal, the term is.
Skjei will be on Broadway through his age 30 season, meaning he will be spending the majority of his prime on the Rangers blueline. Instead of giving him a two-year bridge deal, the Rangers decided to invest in him and the upside, much like they did with Chris Kreider.
What the Rangers are doing here with Skjei, is the same exact thing they did with Ryan McDonagh. Prior to his age 24 season, the Rangers extended McDonagh to a six-year deal with an AAV of $4.7 million.
McDonagh signed for 7.31% of the cap ceiling on his 6-yr post-ELC deal back in 2013
Skjei's 6-yr post-ELC deal is 6.6% of the current cap
— HockeyStatMiner (@HockeyStatMiner) July 28, 2018
Yes, McDonagh had shown the Blueshirts more than Skjei has thus far, but the idea is the same here. Skeji has shown that he has the talent to be something special. Let’s say they decided to give Skeji that two-year bridge deal and Skjei gives them two 50 point seasons with improved defensive play. He wouldn’t be signing the same deal, he’d be signing a deal north of $6 million.
Not only is the contract itself great for the Rangers, but how Skjei projects over the next few years are something to be excited about. Yes, he had a poor season a year ago posting a minus 27 in 82 games. But, that was under a coach in Alain Vigneault who decided it was in his (Vigneault’s) best interest to play older players instead of his up and coming younger players.
With David Quinn in the mix, Skjei truly has an opportunity to make his mark on the Rangers in 2018-19. He along with Marc Staal and Kevin Shattenkirk will become the leaders of the defense. Not only will the increase of playing time help Skjei, but having a coach in Quinn who is known for developing players, will be beneficial for the team and him.
The Rangers clearly think that last year was just a fluke or sophomore slump for Skeji, or else they would not have invested in him for this long. The contract as it stands now is great for both parties involved, but it’s up to Skjei to go out there now and prove that they made the right decision in believing in him.