Brady Skjei (NYR) — LS — University of Minnesota — The only first-round pick on Team USA’s blue line this year, Skjei made it to this stage of the selection process last season, but wasn’t quite ready. He is this year and among Team USA’s left-shot invitees, he is the best defender. A high-end skater with good size and some physicality, Skjei offers a potential top-two pairing defensive defenseman with enough offense to get by. He has four points this year at Minnesota and is a plus-9 on the nation’s best team. Having his own head coach on the bench for Team USA should help his usage a bit as I’d expect him to get big minutes anyway. The only thing Skjei has to be careful about, and this got him into some trouble at the summer camp a few times, is not trying to do too much. Because of that excellent skating ability, sometimes he’ll try to be the one-man breakout and sometimes it works. When it doesn’t it can mean trouble for his goalie. Assuming Skjei can manage that risk and pick his spots well, he is an asset on D who will definitely help the team a lot.
Brady Skjei was getting a lot of run on the penalty kill and performed quite well. He does a nice job of getting to loose pucks and getting them out of the zone quickly. He also showed discipline in his positioning and kept things simple. His ability to close on forwards and make good decisions serves him well.