With all the promise of the young defensemen in the system, and with Tony DeAngelo in line for a big payday before reaching restricted free agency this summer, the Rangers decided to see what they could get for Brady Skjei.
And the club was able to trade the 25-year-old blueliner to the Hurricanes just moments before Monday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline, getting a first-round pick in return, pending the trade call.
Skjei has four more years left on his current contract, with an annual salary-cap hit of $5.25 million. The Hurricanes, who are fighting with the Rangers for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, somehow found the salary-cap space — even after adding Sami Vatanen from the Devils and his $4.5 million cap hit. Apparently Carolina used some voodoo of long-term injured reserve, with serious injuries to defensemen Dougie Hamilton and Brett Pesce, along with goalies James Reimer and Petr Mrazek.
Now general manager Jeff Gorton can have long-term discussions with the 24-year-old DeAngelo, who has taken a huge step forward this season while putting up 13 goals and 45 points, the latter good for a tie for sixth-most in the league among defensemen.