After ten NHL seasons and four with the New York Rangers, as suspected, right handed defenseman Kevin Klein has called it an NHL career. Klein came to the Rangers at the trade deadline of the 2013/14 season in exchange for Micheal Del Zotto. He skated in 224 regular season contests with the Rangers, scoring 22 goals and adding 50 assists. In the playoffs, he was a part of the Rangers’ 2013/14 run to the Stanley Cup Final and played in a total of 45 postseason games with the Blueshirts. In addition to his strong defensive play, Klein brought a physical edge that has often been lacking on the Rangers’ blueline in recent years. This helped make him a fan favorite, even in as a depth defenseman.
It is every hockey fan’s favorite time of year…
OK, OK, hockey playing time is over and hockey management time is upon us. While each member of the Pittsburgh Penguins is now planning their “day with the Cup” (Barf.gif), General Managers and their supporting staff are crunching numbers, reviewing contracts and making contingencies based on where the upper, and for some poor teams’ fans, the lower limits of the 2017/18 Salary Cap will level off.
Leveled off is precisely where the Salary Cap will sit if the NHL Players’ Association decides not to invoke a rule called the “escalator” which artificially inflates the cap ceiling up to five percent higher than the players’ 50% share of Hockey Related Revenue (HRR) dictates. That even split of HRR would keep the cap at right around $73M per team according to league estimates, the number it was at last season. In 2016/17 the NHLPA did decide to use that escalator, or else the cap that year would have been just under $70M per team.
Beyond the points and the boon his goal-scoring brought to a mostly immobile back end, Klein was a reliable physical presence who had no fear of dropping his gloves in defense of a teammate, nor paying a price to remain strong on the puck in either end of the ice. He was one of only a handful of Rangers players who’s physicality didn’t come at the direct expense of playing competent hockey.
The NHL is still very much in the process of modernizing, exiting an era often highlighted by line brawls and fights. That process undoubtedly points to an inevitable event horizon where, perhaps one day we’ll only know a league in which fights simply do not occur. Safety concerns in light of concussion protocol and the potentially disastrous effects of diseases like Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) effectively demand it, but until that day, fans like me will always appreciate the NHL’s great warriors who are more than willing to sacrifice their own well-being in the name of team success, honor, and camaraderie.
In the meantime, if Klein is intent on continuing his career in Europe, might we suggest Ireland? It’s where Vikings is filmed, and let’s be honest—we all know he’s due for a post-hockey career cameo.
It seems that Kevin Klein has come to the same realization as the rest of us, his time as a serviceable NHL depth defenseman has likely come to an end. He’s had a solid career and he may have enough left in the tank to compete over seas. If he does retire, there will be plenty of spots open, particularly on the right side, for the Rangers come September.
First it was Kevin Klein, who has missed a handful of games with back spasms. He skated at the end of the Ranger’s game day skate prior to their 4-1 loss to Washington on Tuesday. Then it was Dan Girardi, still unable, it seems, to recover from a blocked shot that tore open his ankle […]
WIN 400 FOR HENRIK!!!#NYR @HLundqvist30 is now the 12th goaltender in @NHL history who has earned at least 400 career wins! pic.twitter.com/DB5fr0iPcm — New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 12, 2017 The focus heading into tonight’s matchup with the lowly Colorado Avalanche—the NHL’s worst franchise this season—was on getting franchise goaltender Henrik Lundqvist his 400th victory […]
Wednesday night’s 5-2 victory over the Metropolitan Division rival Philadelphia Flyers represented a bit more than a hockey game. The game itself was another two points, but by the final whistle, it also officially marked the halfway point for the New York Rangers for this 2016-17 NHL season. That mark will be an important one […]