ST. PAUL, Minn. — The run on defenseman in Friday’s first round of the NHL draft didn’t end until it included one Minnesotan.
Brady Skjei, a Lakeville native, was selected with the 28th overall pick by the New York Rangers, who lost in the Eastern Conference finals last season. Skjei, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound defenseman, is committed to play next season for the University of Minnesota.
Skjei, 18, had four goals and 18 assists in 56 games while playing for the U.S. national development program in Ann Arbor, Mich. He helped the U.S.A. national team win the gold medal at the Under-18 World Championships in 2012, finishing with a plus-10 rating. Playing for Lakeville North in 2009-10, Skjei had 11 goals and 20 assists, helping Lakeville North to the state tournament.
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No Minnesota-born player was selected in the first round of the draft last year, snapping a decade-long streak. Skjei was rated 19th among North American skaters by the NHL’s Central Scouting Service.
In all, 13 defenseman were selected in the first round of the draft. Eight of the top 10 picks were defensemen.