10:50AM: David Quinn said on 98.7 ESPN Radio on Friday, “The problem with Brady is that he cares so much, I know that might sound crazy but this guy wants to please so many people, puts too much pressure on himself. He had two really good games and against Tampa and Nashville and then there was just a drop in his play. One of the things we’ve talked about with him, you aren’t going to have a great night every night but you can’t have a big drop in your play. We’ve got 7D that we like and want to get involved, there isn’t a lot of wiggle room for defensemen these days, you have to play well if you want to stay in the lineup. He and I had a couple of conversations regarding it. We went through a similar thing last year early on and I’m anticipating him rebounding because he did last year but this is the NHL, when you don’t play well you should be expected not to play, that is the way it works, that is the way life works. If you want to stay in the lineup you’ve got to play well. Playing OK doesn’t cut it, you have to play well. He had two real good games, I thought his game slipped the next two, he’ll get back in and I’m anticipating he will make the most of his opportunity.”
9:36AM: David Quinn said after last night’s win over Carolina that Brady Skjei was healthy and a healthy scratch.
When asked why, Quinn said “I just think he needs to play better.” (NYR)
In 13 games this season, Skjei has one goal, four assists, 14 PIM, an even rating, 28 shots on goal, 12 blocked shots, 9 hits, 2 takeaways and 14 giveaways in 19:32 per game.
On 11/1, Quinn said of Skjei “he wants to do so well, so badly and sometimes that is his biggest problem. One of the things you see when he’s playing well is the confidence in his look, the gaps, when he gets to a puck he’s decisive. To me it’s his gap that can tell you whether he is feeling good about his game or not, I thought he had a really good game the other night.”
On 10/20, after Skjei was benched for part of the second period, Quinn said “we are looking for more out of him, he’s gotta play better and be more consistent.”
Skjei is in the second-year of a six-year contract that has a cap hit of $5.25 million.
Adam Rotter: Brady Skjei, and Marc Staal, will probably slot into the Rangers lineup more often than not this season but they are being pushed for spots and ice time by Libor Hajek and Ryan Lindgren. The Rangers have been looking for consistency and steps forward from Skjei for a while and while he has had ups and downs, all the sudden there is competition and young players who don’t look out of place on defense. Hajek and Lindgren will have ups and downs as rookies but the early returns have been exciting and promising.
When the Rangers embarked on their rebuild they looked at Skjei as someone the defense could be built around, but he hasn’t become that player. If Skjei can find his game then he can still be part of things with the Rangers moving forward, otherwise it’s probably likely he will try to find that consistency in another uniform. Skjei’s skating and the fact that he is signed at a fixed number will make him attractive on the trade market, but the Rangers are hoping not to go down that road.