Defenseman Brady Skjei will make his NHL debut for the Rangers Tuesday night against the Edmonton Oilers at Madison Square Garden.
Skjei, 21, the team’s No. 1 draft choice (28th overall) in 2012, is being summoned from the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack to step in for Dan Girardi, who is sitting out with knee swelling.
Skjei (pronounced Shea), is a 6-3 Minnesota native who has two goals and nine assists in 27 games for the Wolf Pack this season.
Considered the team’s top defensive prospect, Skjei is a swift, smooth skater for his size, often compared to Ryan McDonagh, and is known as a shutdown blueliner.
According to coach Alain Vigneault, who spoke to the media after Tuesday morning’s skate, McDonagh, a lefty, will play the right side with Marc Staal Tuesday night. He has switched sides previously, most notably for Team USA in the last Winter Olympics.
Girardi is a righty, and Skjei a lefty; Vigneault said he would mix and match the second and third defensive pairs of Keith Yandle, Dylan McIlrath, Dan Boyle and Skjei during the game.