Per Larry Brooks of the New York Post, it seems possible that New York Ranger defenseman Kevin Klein will retire at the relatively young age of 32. Klein has suffered from a serious back injury issue which helped keep him sidelined for all but one playoff game. This news is a surprising turn of events, considering that he did partake in 60 regular season games. Apparently Klein is still considering playing elsewhere, perhaps Europe. Brooks cites inside sources to come to this conclusion, and it’s uncertain how close or far Klein might be from this decision.
If true, this potentiality might add sense to the decision to not ask Marc Staal or Dan Girardi to waive their no-movement clauses for the purpose of the expansion draft. The team may already be losing UFA Brendan Smith so losing Klein also could (temporarily) solidify those players’ positions in the top-4. Staal and Girardi are still candidates for buyouts, but this decision would further necessitate that the Rangers seek a defenseman this off-season.
Klein has played in 627 NHL games as of 2017, posting 38 goals and 116 assists. Klein was drafted in the second round of the notably deep 2003 draft and played parts of 9 seasons in Nashville before moving on to New York. He’s gotten Lady Byng votes in four separate seasons, which is awarded for sportsmanship. His game has slowed down, but he was still a near-neutral possession impact, logging over 17 minutes a night. If he were to retire, he would free up $2.9 MM in cap space for GM Jeff Gorton.