The Brady Skjei Effect: A Closer Look At His First NHL Game

How did Brady Skjei do last night? We'll let's sit down and take a look!

Since we're all riding the Brady Skjei train -- whether you like it or not you're on the train so just sit down and enjoy the ride -- I figured I'd bust out another breakdown post for the rookie's fantastic debut.

Let's start with the big, glaring error Skjei made -- the turnover that led to the Jordan Eberle goal to tie the game late in the second:

The sad thing here is Skjei does the "right" thing. He doesn't throw the puck up the middle of the ice and he tries to go off the boards. He doesn't get enough on the puck, however, and he needs to know that Oscar Lindberg (his only help) is in front of him and wouldn't be able to recover. If Skjei had even pinned that puck against the boards it would have allowed the Rangers to recover in time to make sure that doesn't happen. Hell, even icing the puck would have avoided the situation entirely. Still, he's a rookie, these things happen. Learn from it and move on.

But that's really the one glaring error I can remember Skjei making (sadly it ended up in the back of the net). Now let's get to the good stuff.

Here's some net-front presence from Skjei to help stop a chance:

Here's an outstanding pinch and drop pass to keep the play alive (because of his skating ability this is a big part of Skjei's game). And what smarts to quickly move the puck back to open space to keep things moving.

And here's another good pinch, including winning the puck:

Then there's this great work on the penalty kill (against Leon Draisitl):

This is fantastic to see because Skjei not only keeps up with him breaking into the zone, but he keeps himself in a position where he's able to win the puck when Draisitl tried to crash the net. There are a couple of defenseman who play most every night for the Rangers who probably can't do this as seamlessly as Skjei did.

And, finally, what I think was one of Skjei's best plays of the night: springing Rick Nash for a breakaway.

The play starts here with Skjei (green square) picking up the puck in a cluttered slot. Nash, recognizing there's only one defenseman in front of him and the other (red circle) is stuck on the halfboards starts gunning up the middle. Skjei sees this and seamlessly transitions from defense to offense.

Skjei allows the play to develop for a minute before hitting Nash in stride. Nash breaks through the flat-footed Oilers defense before being stopped on a breakaway. Here's the play in full:

Overall not a bad night for Skjei, no?