Kevin Klein Retires From the NHL
New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein will now don the title of ‘former New York Rangers defenseman’ as he announced his retirement today via Twitter. For many Rangers fans, Klein brought an edge and skill set that initially made him a favorite. No. 8 was acquired in 2014 for Michael Del Zotto from the Nashville Predators and played a key role in helping the Blueshirts reach that year’s Stanley Cup Final.
— FullTiltNYR:The Blog (@FullTiltNYRBlog) July 7, 2017
What Klein meant to the Blueshirts:
One of Klein’s most admirable attributes was sticking up for his teammates. And while many said the nasty edge Dylan McIlrath used to bring was important, Klein brought a similar edge with a much higher skill set. In 2015-16 Klein matched his career high of 26 points (9G, 17A) and a +16 rating that had many believing he could play with Ryan McDonagh. This was proven false especially during the playoffs. However, Kevin Klein had many moments of big hits, big fights and big goals.
What does this mean going forward?
Frankly, this means $2.9 million in additional cap space. Klein’s spot on the roster was in jeopardy especially with the signing of Kevin Shattenkirk. With this cap boost, the “newly found money” can be used to lock up Mika Zibanejad and/or get another center. The loss of Klein can be added to the losses of Derek Stepan and Dan Girardi; it means a loss of leadership and veteran presence while Jeff Gorton ‘retools’ his team.