In February 2020, the Carolina Hurricanes made a bold move to strengthen the defensive group for a run at the playoffs.
General Manager Don Waddell was looking to make a splash with some extra draft picks to bolster the roster at the trade deadline.
Waddell moved on to improving the forward depth by bringing in Vincent Trocheck, from the Florida Panthers.
Next up the Hurricanes sent the 2020 first-round pick to the New York Rangers for Brady Skjei. The Rangers sent the first-round pick and a third-round 2020 pick to Calgary for the 19th overall pick in Braden Schneider. Calgary eventually traded the Hurricanes’ pick to the Capitals.
Waddell was happy to strengthen the defense but also the fact that Skjei had years on his contract so this was not a rental acquisition by any means.
At the time Skjei was just 25 and coming off a solid few seasons with the Rangers. In his first full season in the NHL, Skjei put up an impressive 39 points.
He followed that up with two 25-point seasons and had 8 goals and 15 assists at the time of the trade.
Due to the pandemic, the entire NHL was cut short and Skjei only played 7 regular seasons games with the Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes ultimately made the bubble playoff format and beat none other than Skjei’s former team, the Rangers, in a three-game series.
The Boston Bruins would defeat the Hurricanes in the next round quite easily.
Now 28 years old, Skjei has comfortably fit into the Hurricane’s top four with Brett Pesce as his partner, creating a reliable pairing that can contribute offensively as well.
After playing parts of four seasons with the Hurricanes it is safe to say that the deal was a success for the Hurricanes.
With one more year after this season under contract, Skjei will certainly have a chance to remain with the organization if he continues this path of production.
The cost to acquire Skjei did not turn into much now and the Hurricanes had an extra first-round pick to use so the future of the organization was not sacrificed.
The only criticism to this point is that Skjei has not produced wild offensive stats, but on the other hand has played a far better defensive game than showed in New York.
Obviously, the salary cap hit of $5.25 million might be considered an overpayment for the lack of offense and power play presence but the cost for solid defensemen continue to rise each off-season.
Skjei did match his rookie season in points last year with 39 and reached a career-high in goals with 9 scored.
Most impressively, Skjei has been a plus player for the last three seasons.
He is currently heating up lately and elevated his production to 9 points and 4 goals. His offensive skills are evident and are available to come out at any moment.
Currently, that is not what is asked of him by the coaching staff, but it is a nice option to have if injuries to the power play occur.
All in all, this a trade that you would certainly make again.