For Duchene, Brady Skjei Was Rightfully a Non-Starter

Immediately as the Rangers’ turned their play around (of course) and started their five-game win streak, we kicked around the idea of blowing up the defense by trading Ryan McDonagh or Brady Skjei. The strong run over the last seven games has quenched some talks, at least for now, and the fact that GM Jeff Gorton didn’t pull the trigger on a Matt Duchene trade suggests that he’s committed to keeping Skjei as a building block.

“They wanted Duchene badly, but not enough to give up defenseman Brady Skjei, which was what Colorado was insisting he be part of the package,” Bob McKenzie told TSN 1050.

Duchene is now in Ottawa and, for his part, Skjei has proven Gorton right to walk away from the Duchene talk by elevating his play over the last couple of weeks. Like most Rangers, Skjei struggled early in the year, failing to use his legs to make plays and being guilty of excessive puck watching. But over the last seven games, dating back to the Arizona contest, Skjei’s play is markedly improved. He’s playing just over 21:00 per game and only failed to reach the 20:00 mark once. While the points aren’t there yet, he’s been much more competitive and more willing to use his skating ability to make plays.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Avalanche GM Joe Sakic wanted Skjei in a trade for Duchene; the end-to-end playmaking that Skjei offers is rare in the NHL and with New York’s obvious need at center, Sakic, evidently, tried to up Duchene’s potential value to the Blueshirts. As McKenzie noted on the NBC Sports Network broadcast of the Rangers vs. Bruins game last night:

“From the New York Rangers perspective, they were very much in on Matt Duchene, or they would have liked to be in on Matt Duchene with the Colorado Avalanche. But the Avalanche were absolutely insisting that Ranger defenseman Brady Skjei be part of any package for Duchene, and that was basically a non-starter for the New York Rangers.”

Now, Gorton’s refusal to include Skjei in a package for Duchene doesn’t mean that there isn’t an offer that couldn’t convince him to trade the young lefty. But the reality is that Duchene is going to be a free agent after next year—and an expensive one at that—making him more of a rental option for a contender. If the Rangers see themselves that way, then Skjei is going to be an integral part of a playoff run and flipping him for a Derek Stepan replacement doesn’t make much sense.

As a player, even though Duchene is more explosive than Stepan, his speed and skill haven’t proven him to be a much more productive. His 0.73 points per game (P/GP) is only marginally better than Stepan’s 0.70 P/GP. In that respect, replacing Stepan with Duchene is, effectively, a lateral move, and not one worth sacrificing a blue-chip defensive prospect or, perhaps sooner than later, your top-pairing defenseman.

Derek Stepan v. Matt Duchene

There’s no doubt that the Rangers need to improve their center depth if they’re going to be contenders this year and it’s unlikely, albeit too early to tell, that Boo Nieves or Filip Chytil is the answer on the third line. But if Duchene isn’t the guy to convince Gorton to move Skjei, it’s unlikely that it’s the type of deal we’ll see this year. That’s not to say there isn’t a package that could convince Gorton to pull the trigger, especially if the Rangers are sellers at the deadline, but it looks like Skjei has a secure spot on the Rangers’ blueline.

The reality is that Gorton isn’t going to commit to any trades that move the needle for the future at this point, with fewer than 20 games played. The Rangers simply aren’t deep enough into the season to know how the playoff picture might shake out or to know whether they’re going to be buyers or sellers. As McKenzie also noted during the broadcast:

“Really, the Rangers want to see how things unfold here. They’ve got Rick Nash on an expiring contract. They’ve got Nick Holden on an expiring contract. It may be that “the rebuild” continues if the Rangers realize they’re not good enough to be a strong playoff contender. Guys like Nash and Holden could be in play, but that’s all for later.”

Expiring veterans like Nash and Holden will be the first to go if the Rangers decide that this isn’t their year. Nash could almost certainly bring a first-round pick and a later-round pick for Holden would be a decent return for a rental defenseman. Perhaps someone like Sam Bennett, who is struggling with Calgary, could be an interesting option for the Rangers if they want to package a veteran to address their center depth.

But if Skjei continues to play high minutes and starts producing like he did last year, he’s going to be a key component of any rebuild or playoff run. So for now, though Duchene could prove to be a problematic opponent in the Eastern Conference playoff race, it looks like the Rangers were right not to deal for him, especially since they don’t yet know who they are, or perhaps more importantly, who they aren’t.

Discussion





  1. Quote Originally Posted by The Dude
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    Maybe centerpiece is the wrong word. How about "focal point of what the Av's we're looking for, that this team was willing to trade, along with some young quality 2nd line talent in Vesey...."



    Again, he’s not that good to be a focal point. It’s obvious we value him differently.





    Quote Originally Posted by Rangers4Life
    View Post

    He’s not that good is the point, how do make him the “centerpiece” on a deal for a number 1 center?



    Maybe centerpiece is the wrong word. How about "focal point of what the Av's we're looking for, that this team was willing to trade, along with some young quality 2nd line talent in Vesey...."





    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude
    View Post

    Sell high. I don't see him panning out here. Just because of his style of play not really being something AV is capable of dealing with as a young player. If given the opportunity and a long leash, I think the kid has the goods to be a decent offensive minded D man. And I liked Delzotto, so I'm fine with that comparison, though I think DeAngelo is more of a raw talent at this stage, than Delzotto was.

    Like it or not, DeAngelo is the Rangers only trading chip, along with Holden (to improve the current team, not meaning the fire sale names like Nash, Grabner, Zucc, McD and such)



    He’s not that good is the point, how do make him the “centerpiece” on a deal for a number 1 center?





    Quote Originally Posted by Rangers4Life
    View Post

    You’re overvaluing DeAngelo, he’s a poor mans Del Zotto.



    Sell high. I don't see him panning out here. Just because of his style of play not really being something AV is capable of dealing with as a young player. If given the opportunity and a long leash, I think the kid has the goods to be a decent offensive minded D man. And I liked Delzotto, so I'm fine with that comparison, though I think DeAngelo is more of a raw talent at this stage, than Delzotto was.

    Like it or not, DeAngelo is the Rangers only trading chip, along with Holden (to improve the current team, not meaning the fire sale names like Nash, Grabner, Zucc, McD and such)





    Quote Originally Posted by Giacomin
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    Kevin, very reasonable assessment and points. I like Trouba, though he has struggled a bit this year and takes some game changing dumb penalties. But it is probably me who values Skjei very High. I just like him better than Trouba now and think his ceiling is higher and his contract is and will be more manageable due to certain factors.

    If Brady was drafted by the Jets, he'd be getting those type of minutes. AV is too slow to trust, but at least he hasn't dragged his feet with Skjei like he has with other young guys.



    I haven't seen Trouba at all this year so I was basing it on what I saw last year. Bad penalties are generally correctable though.

    As far as the 2nd part, I think Skjei's minutes in comparison to Trouba's were more because of Brady's decision to stay the extra years in college instead of anything in regards to AV. I do think that Skjei would be getting similar minutes this year if he was in Winnipeg though.





    Quote Originally Posted by Drew a Penalty
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    The only argument you're offering favor of Trouba is that he's further along in his development than Skjei, not that he's necessarily better. Trouba is in his fifth NHL season. It's more likely that he's going to be facing much tougher minutes than Skjei who is in his second NHL season, third professional. Vigneault is also notorious for not being as trusting with younger players so Skjei's current 19:17 isn't that bad all things considered.

    Comparing them points wise, Skjei had 39 points in 80 games last season. Trouba has never touched 39 points. He's paced over that before but he's never gotten it. Skjei has already as a rookie. It's possible that Skjei's rookie season was more of an anomaly than anything but who knows. He's playing in different circumstances than last season. He was at the point for the second powerplay unit last season, now he get's about 20 seconds of PP time per game. That's around a minute less than what he got last season. Trouba gets around 2:20 PP time per game. Granted, Skjei only produced 7 points on the powerplay last season. That said, he's not being used in a role that would imply offense anymore despite his zone starts. Shattenkirk handles the offense on that pair. Skjei is there to play defense and also because AV probably doesn't trust him fully yet if we're being accurate.



    That is something though, right? I'm not trying to knock Brady at all. I think he's been great and his future looks really bright. I was just pointing out that Trouba is also very, very good and would be something that if they did happen to trade Skjei, I wouldn't be all that upset. Better yet would be getting Trouba without giving up Skjei...





    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude
    View Post

    Yes. Colorado was mainly looking for young D men. Recent first rounder. Made the team out of camp. Has potential to play in the NHL now with the right coach. Colorado made out big time on what they wound up getting for a disgruntled player with a year and a half left on his 6mill per contract.



    You’re overvaluing DeAngelo, he’s a poor mans Del Zotto.





    Quote Originally Posted by Rangers4Life
    View Post

    DeAngelo as a centerpiece?



    Yes. Colorado was mainly looking for young D men. Recent first rounder. Made the team out of camp. Has potential to play in the NHL now with the right coach. Colorado made out big time on what they wound up getting for a disgruntled player with a year and a half left on his 6mill per contract.
    I'd love to get trouba. I do value him as a better player than skeij but that is no dig at skeij. Trouba is a right handed beast. He skates extremely well and does have offensive upside to his game. Him being right handed which is harder to find and being much more physical are the reasons I would value him higher. That said having skeij is no consolation prize and by no means would I be looking to move him. Skeij for trouba straight up, trouba to me is the better player. However the cap hit difference probably has me saying no to that





    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin
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    I like Brady Skjei but I think you're either overvaluing Skjei or undervaluing Trouba. Trouba is virtually the same age as Skjei but has over 180 games of NHL experience over Skjei. His offensive #'s have been on the rise every year as well and seem to be greater than Skjei's. He plays a ton of minutes every game (he averaged more than 5 minutes a game more than Brady last season) and he's playing against the opposing teams top line where as Skjei is generally still behind Mac. The only real advantage of Skjei over Trouba would be Skjei's current contract status.



    Kevin, very reasonable assessment and points. I like Trouba, though he has struggled a bit this year and takes some game changing dumb penalties. But it is probably me who values Skjei very High. I just like him better than Trouba now and think his ceiling is higher and his contract is and will be more manageable due to certain factors.

    If Brady was drafted by the Jets, he'd be getting those type of minutes. AV is too slow to trust, but at least he hasn't dragged his feet with Skjei like he has with other young guys.
    No not this board, was trying to say that. A board with many more participants. And yes that is what they wanted and I was furious that fans and our beats thought it was something we should do. Brooks said it was Skjei with either Kreids or Miller. Imagine that shit?





    Quote Originally Posted by Giacomin
    View Post

    Early last season, when talk of Skjei plus Miller or Hayes for Trouba was all the rage, I was laughed at by more than 20 Ranger fans on another board for stating I would not trade Skjei for Trouba straight up. So I am not surprised at hearing another Ranger fan undervalues Skjei.



    I think you were on the wrong board, I don't remember anyone here thinking that Skjei for Trouba would have been a good deal lol. And I think that's what WPG would have wanted.
    The Rangers desperately need to trade Skjei, Kreider, Zib and Buch, bench Hank and fire AV

    After all, they've lost their last 5 games in embarrassing fashion and are completely out of the division race[emoji3]

    Sent from my LG-H830 using Tapatalk





    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin
    View Post

    I like Brady Skjei but I think you're either overvaluing Skjei or undervaluing Trouba. Trouba is virtually the same age as Skjei but has over 180 games of NHL experience over Skjei. His offensive #'s have been on the rise every year as well and seem to be greater than Skjei's. He plays a ton of minutes every game (he averaged more than 5 minutes a game more than Brady last season) and he's playing against the opposing teams top line where as Skjei is generally still behind Mac. The only real advantage of Skjei over Trouba would be Skjei's current contract status.



    The only argument you're offering favor of Trouba is that he's further along in his development than Skjei, not that he's necessarily better. Trouba is in his fifth NHL season. It's more likely that he's going to be facing much tougher minutes than Skjei who is in his second NHL season, third professional. Vigneault is also notorious for not being as trusting with younger players so Skjei's current 19:17 isn't that bad all things considered.

    Comparing them points wise, Skjei had 39 points in 80 games last season. Trouba has never touched 39 points. He's paced over that before but he's never gotten it. Skjei has already as a rookie. It's possible that Skjei's rookie season was more of an anomaly than anything but who knows. He's playing in different circumstances than last season. He was at the point for the second powerplay unit last season, now he get's about 20 seconds of PP time per game. That's around a minute less than what he got last season. Trouba gets around 2:20 PP time per game. Granted, Skjei only produced 7 points on the powerplay last season. That said, he's not being used in a role that would imply offense anymore despite his zone starts. Shattenkirk handles the offense on that pair. Skjei is there to play defense and also because AV probably doesn't trust him fully yet if we're being accurate.





    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude
    View Post

    Glad he's not on the table. I wanted Duchene, but would only have given a forward like Vesey or Hayes, having DeAngelo as the center piece. That's all they can afford to give up for such a player. Some would say Duchene isn't much better than Hayes.....

    Now that McD for Marner idea. Let's make this grow some legs.



    DeAngelo as a centerpiece?





    Quote Originally Posted by Giacomin
    View Post

    More likely because Toronto might actually make that trade. I'd bet they'd prefer Skjei too, if given a choice.

    Obviously, I would not trade Skjei for McD.

    Early last season, when talk of Skjei plus Miller or Hayes for Trouba was all the rage, I was laughed at by more than 20 Ranger fans on another board for stating I would not trade Skjei for Trouba straight up. So I am not surprised at hearing another Ranger fan undervalues Skjei.

    Of course, if we go long term with Skjei, we'll get a significant discount considering he would skip multiple years as an RFA. Sounds good.

    King, Larsson is not in Skjei league. His offense is not comparable to Brady, neither is his upside. Seth Jones is a different story.

    Those are super infrequent. Happens though. I remember where I was when hearing about the Gretsky trade. So rare, even recall the weather. It was a nice sunny day out in the metro area.



    I like Brady Skjei but I think you're either overvaluing Skjei or undervaluing Trouba. Trouba is virtually the same age as Skjei but has over 180 games of NHL experience over Skjei. His offensive #'s have been on the rise every year as well and seem to be greater than Skjei's. He plays a ton of minutes every game (he averaged more than 5 minutes a game more than Brady last season) and he's playing against the opposing teams top line where as Skjei is generally still behind Mac. The only real advantage of Skjei over Trouba would be Skjei's current contract status.
    Glad he's not on the table. I wanted Duchene, but would only have given a forward like Vesey or Hayes, having DeAngelo as the center piece. That's all they can afford to give up for such a player. Some would say Duchene isn't much better than Hayes.....

    Now that McD for Marner idea. Let's make this grow some legs.





    Quote Originally Posted by Future
    View Post

    A 1-for-1 of Skjei for Marner is probably more likely than Mac for Marner.

    I don't think it will happen, but it's not like Skjei is so good that he's untouchable. And his ELC ends after this year - any lengthy extension and he's going to get $5m+



    More likely because Toronto might actually make that trade. I'd bet they'd prefer Skjei too, if given a choice.

    Obviously, I would not trade Skjei for McD.

    Early last season, when talk of Skjei plus Miller or Hayes for Trouba was all the rage, I was laughed at by more than 20 Ranger fans on another board for stating I would not trade Skjei for Trouba straight up. So I am not surprised at hearing another Ranger fan undervalues Skjei.

    Of course, if we go long term with Skjei, we'll get a significant discount considering he would skip multiple years as an RFA. Sounds good.

    King, Larsson is not in Skjei league. His offense is not comparable to Brady, neither is his upside. Seth Jones is a different story.

    Those are super infrequent. Happens though. I remember where I was when hearing about the Gretsky trade. So rare, even recall the weather. It was a nice sunny day out in the metro area.





    Quote Originally Posted by Giacomin
    View Post

    Hahaha if true.


    Of course Sakic wanted Skjei. Silly to think the Rangers would trade their best dollar value player, and most important asset and soon, player. Let alone trade his ELC contract for 1.8 years of a 6M cap hit, then UFA. LET ALONE, trade a budding #1 two way defenseman with size and speed and a great attitude, at all. Do we even have a young dman who is good? Even if all the other Dmen were playing way over their heads, it's a ridiculous ask because it ruins the team now and in the future.

    It actually irritates me when you say it doesn't mean there aren't offers to convince Gorton to trade him. What would be the point. When a team doesn't want to trade a true asset (in this case our top asset) there is only one way to get him. A massive overpay. And a massive overpay would be someone like Draisaitl. These things don't happen. We can safely buy a Skjei jersey.



    Apparently I must do a better job of spreading Rep around before giving it to you again, LOL.




    Silly to think the Rangers would trade their best dollar value player, and most important asset and soon, player. Let alone trade his ELC contract for 1.8 years of a 6M cap hit, then UFA. LET ALONE, trade a budding #1 two way defenseman with size and speed and a great attitude, at all.


    Well summed up. As you said, "it's a ridiculous ask." Not that crazy things don't happen from time to time and when unicorns eclipse the sun, but in this case, I'm very glad it's something didn't happen, IMO.

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