Nov
16

The sneaky-bad start to Kevin Klein’s season

November 16, 2016, by

kevin klein

In case you missed it, the Rangers are off to a pretty solid start. While the team sure is fun to watch, the pace of play and success might not be sustainable. Most of that is due to the massive upgrade needed on defense.

Folks immediately point to Dan Girardi and Marc Staal because of their contracts, or Nick Holden because of his early gaffes. But Kevin Klein has been under-the-radar bad to start the season, and it’s one of the main reasons why the Rangers are struggling in the overall shot-attempt battle (CF%), and why detractors are saying their fall is coming fast.

Klein has never been a noted goal scorer or point getting, so his three points (no goals) isn’t overly surprising. On the ice, we’ve seen his skating starting to get exploited, and he’s been a little slow in his coverages and assignments. Like most of the defensemen on the Rangers, he’s also struggled with passing and zone exits.

His stats are pretty concerning as well. He’s sporting a 45.8% CF. That is 182nd out of 205 defensemen that have played 50 minutes thus far. Only Girardi has a worse CF% on the Rangers, which is expected. However Klein was being counted on to help stabilize the right side of the defense, and thus far he has not been successful.

More than a few people have been wondering when the other shoe would drop with Klein. After putting up back-to-back seasons of 9-17-26 (yes, he actually had identical stat lines both years), which set new career highs, Klein has seen that other shoe drop. Never known for scoring, that little blip on the radar was a welcome surprise.

Now that the scoring has dropped off, Klein’s weaknesses –footwork, moving the puck– that had been masked are showing up more clearly. It’s been just 16 games, but the soon-to-be 32 year old defenseman is on the wrong side of the age bracket in a league that is getting faster by the shift. Hopefully a turn around is coming, but Klein’s play has been a clear drop-off thus far.

Categories : Players

25 comments

  1. Mike A says:

    Klein has 6 points at this point in the season.. not 3.

    Regardless i agree with the sentiment here that hes play is slowly declining and we probably wont see him post the same production that he has the past 2 years, although I do think that utilizing him on the third pairing with a good partner could significantly help his consistency and hide some of his weaknesses. His contract is good enough to the point that its not worth being concerned over.

    Having said that, I have been thinking about a possible scenario that I would like to hear people’s thoughts on. What if we traded klein for shattenkirk? The blues already know they cannot re-sign shatty and rather them losing him for nothing they got a solid right handed D man on a good contract for the next year and a half. The rangers can then allow him to go UFA during the expansion draft preventing las vegas from stealing him and then sign directly after the draft is over. A bit convoluted but not a terrible option IMO.

    • Chris A says:

      If you can get Shatty for just Klein, you make that trade in a heartbeat.

      Even if Shatty changes his mind and backs out on a pre-expansion draft handshake agreement and goes UFA, it wouldn’t be a big deal as all the Rangers gave up was a fading D man.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      St Louis has more value in keeping Shattenkirk until their season ends and then trading his rights (like the Rangers did with Yandle) than trading him straight up for Klein. They’d require some additional pieces, which, depending on specifics, the Rangers may be inclined to include.

      Other than that, your plan is A ok with me. Shattenkirk >>> Klein

    • Dave says:

      Post was written before the Edmonton game. I should’ve updated.

    • Cody says:

      Shattenkirk for Klein? I’ll have whatever you’re smoking!

  2. Richter1994 says:

    It’s the same every year for KK:

    Oct and Nov he stinks.
    Dec, Jan, and Feb he’s great.
    End of Feb he gets hurt and it ruins the rest of his season.

    • Chris A says:

      Well, he started this year banged up, so maybe things are getting worse for KK?

      • Richter1994 says:

        the age thing always comes into play for sure. there is no set rule for the “30 year old decline.” It’s different for all players.

        So your point is well taken Chris.

  3. DAVID k says:

    So once again why is Clendening not playing? If Klein and Girardi need a game off from time to time why does AV not give them one.

    • SalMerc says:

      This is the key point. Clendening needs to give Klein & Girardi some time off. AV will play these guys until they are dead on their feel instead of giving them a game off. Carolina is a perfect game to sit Klein.

      Dave is soooo correct.

    • Richter1994 says:

      forgetting about who needs a game off, Clendening should be a fixture in the line up every night until proven otherwise.

  4. Snake says:

    Yeesh. So you look at a Corsi number and proclaim Klein is bad (and Girardi…can’t forget to take another potshot at Girardi). If CF is the extent of your content and analysis then I guess I can just look at those stats and skip the blog.

    I’m sorry, Dave. I tried, but it you’ve lost me. I respect the time and effort you put in the blog and providing a place for Ranger fans to come together, but it’s gone from “getting old” to “yesterdays news”. We get it. The metrics you use have convinced you the Rangers defense is abysmal. I look forward to reading this repeatedly for the rest of the season. NOT.

    • Dave says:

      Six paragraph post. One paragraph out of six mentions stats. You dismiss the rest because I mentioned stats.

      Disagreeing with me is fine, just contribute to the discussion with why you think I’m wrong. You added nothing with your ranting.

      • y81 says:

        Two reasons why you’re wrong, or at least overly cursory in your analysis:

        The Rangers aren’t bad in Corsi For, 5 on 5, close. I’m not sure what number you’re looking at, but you should explain more fully.

        Girardi is usually paired with McDonough and sent out against the other team’s top line. So he’s usually facing the other team’s best, which negatively impacts his individual stats.

        • wwpd says:

          I’m sure someone would be happy to do an in-depth fancystats post on Klein. It’s not really fair to the blogger to expect that every time any one stat is mentioned though, at least that’s my opinion. If nothing else than for the sake of those who wish advanced metrics were never mentioned at all..

          • Dave says:

            You are correct. This post wasn’t meant to be an in-depth analysis. We’ve done that in the past about Klein. We all know what he is at this point.

            Post was aimed at saying he’s had a slow start, with some details to back it up (both eye test/stats).

            Regarding stats, it’s irresponsible to ignore them. You don’t get the full picture. Do they tell the whole story? Nope. Never said they did. But they help to find some issues that a personal bias might not pick up on.

        • Dave says:

          Rangers are sub-50% 5v5. Not good, but not bad. I was looking at Klein’s individual CF%. Most of the defense have toilet CF% numbers so far: http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/ratings.php?db=201617&sit=5v5&type=corsi&teamid=20&pos=defense&minutes=50&disp=1&sort=PCT&sortdir=DESC

          It’s as we expected. The forwards are carrying the team and driving the success, and the defense so far has been able to stay above water and be carried. That’s not all bad, a lot of players can’t even be carried.

          They need a D upgrade to be a true contender. A true 1RD to play with McDonagh.

          • Snake says:

            Back in September Dan Rosen wrote, “it’s time to accept the defensemen on the roster now. I know there are a plethora of questions about the group, starting with Dan Girardi, moving to Marc Staal and Brady Skjei and ending with Dylan McIlrath, but it’s time to accept this group for what it is and hope that it’s good enough.”

            So far it’s been more than good enough. I don’t see any need for a D upgrade to be a “true contender”…whatever that means.

      • Snake says:

        If you think that is a rant, you are sorely mistaken. Matter of fact, I think I was polite about it. I just think you are defensive because your constant bashing of the Rangers D hasn’t been proved correct, so you lash out at people that don’t agree with your opinion.

        I don’t need to defend Klein or Girardi. My point was that it is getting old reading over and over that the you think the D needs an upgrade. Every team could use an upgrade at something. The team is winning and that’s all that matters and IMO Klein, Girardi and the rest have been playing great. Saying Klein has been sneaky bad is just silly. I’ve watched every game this year and I think he’s played well. He’s a D man. His job is to prevent goals, not score them and I’m not going to waste my time looking for proof of the obvious to satisfy what you deem adding nothing to the discussion.

  5. ken says:

    i JUST FIND IT HARD TO BELIEVE THAT ANYONE IS GETTING ON GIRARDI, WHO BY THE WAY HAS PLAYED SOME PRETTY DAMN GOOD HOCKEY THUS FAR! KLEIN DIDN’T HAVE A GOOD 2ND HALF LAST SEASON , BUT CORRECT ME IF I’M WRONG, I BELIEVE KLEIN AND HOLDEN HAVE BEEN ON THE ICE TOGETHER FOR A WHOPPING 1 EVEN STRENGTH GOAL! I THINK I COULD LEARN TO LIVE WITH THOSE KINDS OF PROBLEMS!

    • Dave says:

      Why you gotta yell?

    • Snake says:

      You would think, right? If people aren’t happy with the way the D are preforming now just wait until the team stumbles a bit…and they will since all teams have hot and cold streaks. Then will come the “I told ya so” comments. The sad part is the longer the Rangers play well, the more the tension will continue to build when predictions of doom and gloom for the Rangers D haven’t come true. It’s just human nature.