New York Rangers: Kevin Klein

Meet the Blueshirts: Kevin Klein

June, 3, 2014
Jun 3
Kevin KleinBruce Bennett/Getty Images
Position: D
Number: 8
Age: 29
Born: Kitchener, Ontario
Height: 6-1
Weight: 199
How Acquired: Acquired by the Rangers in a trade with the Nashville Predators on Jan. 22, 2014 in exchange for Michael Del Zotto.

In case you didn’t know ...

• Klein, a stay-at-home blueliner, has provided depth on the backend and has posted a plus-seven plus/minus rating in these playoffs.

• The Predators rewarded Klein with a five-year, $14.5 million contract extension in September 2012. Then they dealt him just a year into the deal.

• During the NHL lockout, Klein played eight games for the Herlev Eagles, a Danish professional team.

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Rapid Reaction: Rangers 2, Devils 0

March, 22, 2014
Mar 22
NEWARK, N.J. -- Make that three straight wins for the New York Rangers, as the Blueshirts toppled their Hudson River rival New Jersey Devils 2-0 Saturday night at Prudential Center.

Avoiding what could’ve been an easy emotional letdown after the team’s pivotal win in Columbus, Ohio, just one night prior, the Rangers brought the same type of tenacity into New Jersey.

Rick Nash built on his banner performance against his former team and tallied his third goal in three games after beating veteran Martin Brodeur.

Brodeur was fantastic in what might be his last head-to-head battle with Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, but Nash caught him distracted midway through the second period for the game’s first goal.

Meanwhile, Lundqvist passed Eddie Giacomin to become the Rangers’ all-time shutout leader with the 50th of his career.

The Rangers now return home to for a two-game set at Madison Square Garden, hosting the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday and division rival Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday, after which they will embark on a four-game road trip.

Sparks fly: There appeared to be an emotional carryover from the Rangers’ fiery performance in Columbus one night prior, as the chippiness between the Blueshirts and Devils escalated quickly in the first period. Multiple scuffles had to be diffused throughout the first frame, including a shoving match between Daniel Carcillo and Devils captain Bryce Salvador and a tussle between Mats Zuccarello and Patrik Elias. The Rangers entered Saturday’s action just one night after a heated battle against the Blue Jackets, a huge win for New York to swap spots with Columbus and reclaim the third spot in the Metropolitan Division.

Down and out: Rocked by a hit from Columbus’ Blake Comeau, defenseman John Moore did not play Saturday because of concussion-like symptoms. It is not immediately clear how long he will be missing, though his injury cleared the way for trade-deadline acquisition Raphael Diaz to make his debut.

Nursing some wounds: There are a few mystery players on the Rangers roster that are nursing some "bumps and bruises," according to coach Alain Vigneault. Both newly signed college free agent Ryan Haggerty and depth defenseman Justin Faulk took warmups, though the two players were ultimately scratched. Keep an eye in the coming days, though. Whoever needs a "maintenance" day at practice in the upcoming week might be a bit more hampered than they appear.

Last-minute change: Interesting item to note: Vigneault discussed at length the need to use Diaz on the left side with defensive partner Kevin Klein (a fellow right-hander), though Diaz played on the right side during his Rangers debut with Klein skating on the left instead. Prior to Klein’s acquisition, the Rangers were desperate for righties to achieve some balance on the blue line. Now, they are swiveling spots to make way for yet another.

Klein to make Rangers debut Thursday

January, 23, 2014
Jan 23
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."

W2W4: Rangers vs. Blues

January, 23, 2014
Jan 23
At a glance: Coming off a 5-3 loss to the Islanders on Tuesday night, the Rangers look to bounce back against one of the top teams in the league Thursday at Madison Square Garden. The 27-22-3 Blueshirts will host the 33-11-5 St. Louis Blues as they aim to get back on track before this weekend’s Stadium Series match at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx. The Rangers will have Henrik Lundqvist, who missed Tuesday’s game with the flu, back in goal, as well as a new face on defense. The team acquired veteran defenseman Kevin Klein in a trade with Nashville Wednesday in exchange for beleaguered young blue-liner Michael Del Zotto.

New guy: The Rangers finally addressed what has been a pressing need ever since Michael Sauer was felled by a serious concussion over two years ago: a right-handed defenseman. Klein’s addition to the back end provides the unit with significantly more balance, allowing third-pair defenseman John Moore to move back to his natural left side. With Klein, who is in the first of a five-year $14.5 million deal, they’ll now have three right-handed shots. “It’s just gonna give our D corps a much better look in my estimation,” coach Alain Vigneault said in Tuesday morning’s pregame press briefing. ”We’ll see tonight.”

Klein, who is a solid two-way player that can kill penalties, will start on the third pairing with Moore against the Blues.

Strength in net: Lundqvist will return to the nets Tuesday night after feeling ill on Tuesday. He’ll do so on an impressive stretch. The 2012 Vezina Trophy Winner is 7-2-1 with a 1.97 goals against average, .937 save percentage and one shutout in his last 10 appearances.

Tread lightly: Though the Blues have experienced a dip in play lately, the Rangers know better than to underestimate what has been a superior squad pretty much all season. The Blues have dropped four of the last six games, including an absolute drubbing from a goal-starved New Jersey Devils team that gave them a 7-1 shellacking Tuesday night. “We expect their best,” said captain Ryan Callahan Tuesday morning.