The New York Rangers weren't feeling like spending some time in a meeting room for an arbitration meeting with defenseman Brady Skeji on July 31st. Hell no. Instead, the Rangers inked the 24-year-old defenseman to a six-year deal worth $33 million, they announced Saturday.
The blue liner decided to stick around for a long run, despite the Blue Shirts making significant changes at this year's trade deadline when team president Glen Sather and general manager Jeff Gorton explained to their fan base that the Rangers needed to start a retooling process in the Big Apple, to ensure they can once again be Cup contenders in the seasons to come.
The young defender surely fits the model, which will change some more with new head coach David Quinn, who was hired this summer after the Rangers decide to fire Alain Vigneault.
Skeji also already impressed many around the National Hockey League; during his rookie season, his 27 assists at even strength was good for third in the entire league behind only Ottawa Senators' Erik Karlsson and San Jose Sharks' Brent Burns.
When asked by The Hockey Writers about the rough season the Rangers endured last year, Skeji is looking to focus on the future, which now includes great motivation from his new contract.
"This last year was obviously very tough for us. We lost a lot of older, veteran guys, and as they say, it is kind of a rebuild now. But I like the direction of this team as we have a lot of younger, skilled players. We now have three 2018 first-rounders and a new coach, David Quinn. Quinn is a former Boston University guy and is good with younger players. He has coached in the pro hockey level so it is going to be an exciting time to be a Rangers fan. I think we are going to be a young, fast-paced team with a lot of skill. We won’t have much to lose so we will be hungrier than ever. It’s going to be a great year for sure."
In 82 games in this challenging last season, Skjei, who was selected in the first round, 28th overall of the 2012 NHL Draft, had four goals and 21 assists.
And now he also has a new deal in hand.