Incoming Gophers freshman Brady Skjei impressed the New York Rangers this week during the two days he was at their development camp.

He was there Tuesday and Wednesday, then left for the graduation party at Lakeville North last night and to resume summer classes at the U of M on Thursday.

A story on Skjei's brief camp is here.

Skjei, a 6-3, 200-pound defenseman was the Rangers' first round pick in the recent NHL draft. He was taken No. 28.

During an interview after the Rangers drafted him, Skjei was asked about starting his career with the Gophers.

"We are going to have a really solid team coming back, for sure," Skjei said. "They made a good run to the Frozen Four last year.

"We have a bunch of good guys coming in and good guys coming back. We are excited to learn from Mike Guentzel also, the defensemen coach who has trained a lot of great players today. And also [from] Don Lucia and Grant Potulny who have helped me out individually."

Skjei named all three Gophers coaches in his interview.

To hear his interview click here.


The Florida Panthers' five-day development camp will start Monday in Coral Springs, Fla..

Gophers center Nick Bjugstad, picked No. 19 overall by the Panthers in 2010, will be one of five first round picks there. The others are:

D Michael Matheson (No. 23, 2012)

C Jonathan Huberdeau (No. 3, 2011)

D Erik Gudbranson (No. 3, 2010)

C Quinton Howden (No. 25, 2010)

The on-ice schedule:

• Monday, July 2: 1 p.m.- 4 p.m. (practice)

• Tuesday, July 3: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. (practice)

• Thursday, July 5: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. (practice/scrimmage)

• Friday, July 6: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. (scrimmage)

A source close to Bjugstad said he will make his decision on whether to sign with the Panthers or to play his junior year with the Gophers after he returns from the camp.

Three other Minnesota-born players will also be among the 36 prospects at the camp. One is left wing Kyle Rau of the Gophers. He was one of Bjugstad's linemates. Bjugstad is from Blaine, Rau from Eden Prairie.

Former Gopher Josh Birkholz, who left the U after his freshman year, also will be there. He is from Maple Grove and played for Everett of the Western Hockey League last season.

And the third Minnesotan there will be Denver defenseman John Lee of Moorhead.

* Vancouver's five-day development camp starts Friday. Among the 35 players expected are two WCHA goalies, Joel Rumpel of Wisconsin and Andrew Walsh of Bemidji St. Also there will be Badgers center Joe LaBate, who played for Holy Angels in high school.