Klein to make Rangers debut Thursday

January, 23, 2014
Jan 23
4:15
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Kevin Klein got a phone call from Nashville Predators general manager David Poile Wednesday, informing him he had been traded.

Only problem?

Poile did not immediately tell him where.

It was a tense few minutes for Klein, who spent the last ten years with a Nashville organization that drafted him as a second-rounder in 2003, until the power of social media came through.

His teammate Shea Weber texted him that he was headed to New York before Poile called him back soon after with the destination.

From Music city to the Big Apple, Klein anticipates a stark change of pace.

"It's a change for sure," Klein said. "Nashville, it's not too congested or too many sky-rises. Here, it's quite the change. Looking forward to a big hockey market, which is always exciting. It's gonna take a little getting used to but I'm excited for the challenge."

The 29-year-old Klein was acquired by the Rangers in exchanged for 23-year-old Michael Del Zotto. Klein provides the Rangers an element they have been searching for ever since Michael Sauer's career was derailed by a concussion more than two years ago: a right-handed defenseman.

That provides the team's defense more balance -- Dan Girardi and Anton Stralman were the only two righties before the deal -- and allows John Moore to move back to his natural left side.

He had recently moved to the right to accommodate Del Zotto on the third pairing.

"It's going to give our D corps a much better look in my estimation," coach Alain Vigneault said, confirming that Klein will play with Moore Thursday against the Blues. "We'll see tonight."

Klein, who has four years remaining on a five-year $14.5 million deal, said he will wait to move his wife and two young sons to New York until the Olympic break, allowing the family some time to get situated.

There won't be much time for him to catch his breath, however, as he'll get thrown right into the action against one of the top teams in the West right now.

"I'm a defense-first type of guy," Klein said of his style. "I play physical. I'm more of a shutdown type of guy than an offensive guy."
Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPN.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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