GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Free-agent defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk triggered the headlines and the re-signing of Brendan Smith added some snarl to the Rangers blueline this summer.
Meanwhile, Brady Skjei, voted to the NHL All-Rookie Team last season, whose role will increase with the roster changes, played in a competitive 4-on-4 league filled with NHLers, and flew under the radar in his native Minnesota. That will change soon.
Skjei, 23, who was 5-34-39 in 80 games and 4-1-5 in 12 playoff games, is a 2012 first-round draft choice who appears to be a rising star. His 39 points were the most by a Rangers rookie defender since Brian Leetch in 1988-89.