NEW YORK — The Rangers avoided arbitration with Brady Skjei, agreeing with the defenceman on a $31.5 million, six-year contract.

New York general manager Jeff Gorton announced the deal with the 24-year-old restricted free agent Saturday, three days before Sjkei's arbitration hearing was scheduled. The former University of Minnesota player was coming off his entry-level contract and will count $5.25 million against the salary cap through the 2023-24 season.

Skjei is a poster boy for the Rangers' rebuild as a young, homegrown player counted on to take on an increased role. The 2012 first-round pick has already played 169 NHL games and is going into his third full season.

Playing all 82 games last season, Sjkei averaged a career-high 21 minutes a game and had four goals and 21 assists. He was 10th in Calder Trophy voting for rookie of the year in 2016-17 when he had 39 points.