Brady Skjei 2020-21 Season By The Numbers
- Age: 27
- NHL Seasons: 6
- Scoring: 3 goals, 7 assists, 10 point sin 52 games
- Advanced numbers: 52.51 CF%, 51.22 SCF%, 52.91 xGF%, 53.33 GF%
- Average TOI: 17:59 ES, 0:03 PP, 2:40 SH
- Contract status: Three years left at $5.25 AAV
Coming into the 2020-21 season, there were questions about the wisdom of the Hurricanes’ decision to spend a first-round pick on Brady Skjei at the 2020 NHL trade deadline. Through the first part of the season, those questions were amplified.
Skjei continued to struggle in the Hurricanes’ system, and defensive lapses and costly turnovers weren’t an uncommon occurrence. But, partway into the year, a switch seemed to flip. It seemed that, like players such as Dougie Hamilton and Jake Gardiner, it took Skjei some extra time to adjust to the Hurricanes’ system, which asks a lot of its defensemen.
He started to show why the Hurricanes wanted to go and get him, demonstrating the two-way ability to make things happen with his skating, jump into the play in the offensive zone, break the puck out and transition it up the ice. Skjei settled into a second-pairing role with Brett Pesce, a match seemingly made in heaven.
Pesce’s rock-solid defensive ability makes him an ideal player to cover for Skjei when he ranges to make plays in the offensive zone, and Skjei in turn provides a perfect complement and balance to Pesce’s shutdown abilities.
Brady Skjei steps in and fires one by Vasilevskiy to tie the game in the third period. Sebastian Aho with great work in front of the net. Brand new hockey game. pic.twitter.com/hWMBvIwGZB— Canes Country (@CanesCountry) April 20, 2021
Despite Skjei playing difficult minutes alongside Pesce against tough competition, the Hurricanes controlled possession and play with him on the ice, as all of his above possession metrics are positive.
Skjei also proved his worth in the defensive zone throughout the season, using his skating and stick to break up plays. He also finished fourth on the team with 62 blocked shots, and showed his physicality at times with 66 hits.
Brady Skjei with a big hit on Frank Vatrano late in the first period. pic.twitter.com/ezIf2IBtwD— Brett Finger (@brettfinger) April 8, 2021
Skjei’s biggest contributions defensively came down a man, as he emerged as one of the team’s key penalty killers. Skjei played 2:40 per game on a Hurricanes penalty kill that finished third in the NHL.
While Skjei is probably a bit overpaid with three years left at $5.25 million per season, that’s far from an outrageous price tag if he continues to bring what he brought to the Hurricanes’ top four at both ends of the ice in the second half of last season. And, with Dougie Hamilton gone, Skjei’s play will be even more important going forward.
Skjei bounced back from his rough start to the 2020-21 season to prove why the Hurricanes viewed him as a top target and valuable addition to their blue line.
How would you grade Brady Skjei’s 2020-21 season?
This poll is closed
A - Outstanding Performance
B - Above Average Performance
C - Average Performance
D - Below Average Performance
F - Significantly Below Average Performance