There are not many rankings or draft boards that have Brady Skjei being available when the Islanders are scheduled to pick at #34, but there are a few. The reason is despite tantalizing skating -- particularly for a player of his roughly 6'3", ~200 lbs. -- his physicality is lacking and offensive skills don't profile him to make a big impact at that end of the ice.
Still, with the U.S. National Development Team Program he's exhibited impressive skating (including in the D-zone) and solid puckhandling skills that make observers think "Man, if he comes around..." You'll read some high praise for Skjei from the samplings below, and you'll see lots of rankings in the mid- to late-20's with a few outliers well later than that.
He's headed to the U. of Minnesota (the Isles have been there, done that) and again, he's probably off the board by the 34th pick. But if he's not taken and if the Isles have already selected a forward with the fourth overall pick, he has some of the tools the Islanders frequently look for. With so many defensemen rated well this year, you never know which ones will fall simply because certain teams are set on adding a forward or goalie.
How They Rank Him
- ISS: 26
- CSS (N.A. skaters): 19
- McKeen's: 21
- The Hockey News: 26
- The Scouting Report: 28
- "Consensus" Weighted Rank (June): 24
- Hockey Prospectus: 37
- Craig Button (June): 26
What They're Saying
While Skjei is not one of the best all-around defensemen in this year’s defensive heavy class, Skjei is one of the best skaters in the entire crop. Skjei loves to skate the puck up, but can also keep the play simple by making a smart pass to get the puck out of the zone on the breakout. Skjei could commit to being more physical...
McKeen's Draft Preview:
Skjei didn't always get the notoriety of his counterparts while playing behind the likes of Seth Jones and Jacob Trouba ... plays a skilled two-way game, as he can do many things well and has good size to complement his all-around game. A more than capable skater, he is fluid in all directions thanks to a crisp stride...
The Hockey News Draft Preview:
Skjei isn't the best defenseman in this year's draft, but he is close. And he's undoubtedly the best skater among blueliners available. "It looks like poetry watching this guy skate," said one scout. "He's effortless and massive..."
Corey Pronman, Hockey Prospectus:
Skjei's puck skills are solid for a big man, but compared to a wide talent pool they're pretty average. The same can be said for his puck-moving skills as well which is why despite that one high-end ability, I don't think he has a significant offensive ceiling. In his own end, he uses his mobility well to stay with his checks, but doesn't use his large frame as much as he could and seems a bit timid at times.