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Rumor: Rangers close to making huge deal, but won’t trade Skjei

It’s clear they’re looking for a blockbuster, so who will they move?

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Chris Nichols of the FanRag Sports Network cited TSN analyst and NHL insider Bob McKenzie’s report from TSN 1050 that they New York Rangers “wanted Duchene badly”, but were obviously unable to come to an agreement. According to McKenzie, the Rangers weren’t willing to part with defenseman Brady Skjei in a deal for Matt Duchene, souring the discussions.

While Duchene is undoublty a talented player, you can’t blame Rangers GM Jeff Gorton for holding on to Skjei so tightly. The former first round pick (28th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft has been a revelation in his first two NHL seasons. The 23-year-old University of Minnesota product put up a remarkable 39 points in 80 games during his rookie campaign last season and has looked stellar again this season, despite putting up just four points in 17 games.

With Skjei in their lineup, the Rangers can roll out one of the deepest blue lines in the NHL. Captain Ryan McDonagh and free-agent addition Kevin Shattenkirk highlight a top end blue line, but if the Rangers were to lose Skjei via trade, his absence would be felt throughout the lineup. Smart move, by the Rangers GM to NOT make a move.