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2012 NHL Draft: Minnesota's Brady Skjei Should Be Selected In 1st Round

The guy that some people are calling the best skater in the 2012 NHL draft is coming from Lakeville, Minnesota. Brady Skjei is widely expected to be taken in the first round of the draft this season after honing his defense and skating abilities in Minnesota high school hockey as well as the USA Hockey national development team program.

Most mock drafts and analysts have Skjei going somewhere in the middle of the first round in the draft, which means that his hometown Minnesota Wild probably won't have a shot at him, at least not without getting labeled as reaching for a player.

Still, he's gotten some rave reviews from his coaches and from analysts who think he'll make a fine defenseman in the NHL once drafted:

"What he's developed more than anything is the confidence in his game," said Button. "He became very assured of his play on the ice. He's an excellent skater, and I mean his balance, agility and quickness. He gets the puck out of trouble real quick, and he does it with a good pass or skating four feet to open up a lane.

"And while he doesn't put up a lot of points, he's a guy that'll help your offense. Because his skating is so good, he'll hold the offensive blue line and not back out. And he'll get the puck out of his own zone and get it forward."

From all that we've heard, we can expect to hear Skjei's name called on Friday night in Pittsburgh.

For more on the Minnesota Wild, check out Hockey Wilderness. You can check out more hockey news from around the league at SB Nation's NHL page, or watch SB Nation's YouTube channel:

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.