Kevin Klein’s form a growing problem for the Rangers

December 1, 2016, by
kevin klein

Where has this Kevin Klein gone? Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Rangers can probably tolerate one blueliner playing poorly until they finally decide to amend their blueline closer to the trade deadline, a time when cap space is likely to be plentiful and when the typical NYC obsession with acquiring a big name will take over Jeff Gorton. What they cannot afford is to have multiple liabilities on the back end, particularly on a unit that cannot move the puck as it is and on a unit, that is seemingly playing worse in its own zone as the season progresses.

Kevin Klein has truly come back down to earth and is nowhere near the player the Rangers have enjoyed over the past couple of seasons. His form with and without the puck is becoming a serious problem for the Rangers. With his unsustainable level of offense now a memory, Klein is standing out more for his multiple turnovers, poor positional play and general incompetence on the ice. His indecisiveness and hesitation on the puck right in front of Henrik Lundqvist against the ‘Canes – that led to Viktor Stalberg’s goal – was typical of the Klein we’ve seen this season more often than not.

What’s worse (and this is the eye test and without reference to analytics) is that his play appears to be negatively affecting Brady Skjei’s performances as well. If you think Brady Skjei’s form has dipped too – and it has – and you then factor in Dan Girardi’s regression following his own strong start to the year, all of a sudden the Rangers have at least half of their blueline playing below an acceptable standard and all of a sudden ladies and gentlemen, you have yourselves a problem. That’s without considering the flaws of Nick Holden and Marc Staal.

The Rangers need to either insert Adam Clendening (where have we heard that before?) and see what he gives you over a prolonged stretch of games, or address the blueline meaningfully before the trade deadline. My initial thinking was that the Rangers, thanks in large part to their strong start to the regular season, could wait out as long as possible before addressing their blueline need. I have changed my thinking. Changes need to happen soon and in large part because of Kevin Klein’s regression.

If there is a legitimate top four defenseman out there (Hello Calgary) that the Rangers can use their forward depth to acquire then they need to be proactive. They should not chase an unnecessary rental, give away what few quality prospects or young players they have, nor should they recklessly ship out draft picks without getting a quality return. However, the Rangers potentially have a good maybe even brilliant chance of a successful season on the hands.

The Rangers offense can seemingly stay the course with any other in the league and if you spot Henrik Lundqvist a lead there are few (if any) that are better. The Rangers defense however, promises to undermine an exciting season and it is arguably Kevin Klein that is fast becoming the biggest issue on a blueline that needs serious attention.


"Kevin Klein’s form a growing problem for the Rangers", 5 out of 5 based on 9 ratings.
Categories : Players


  1. amy says:

    let’s see what clendening can do he might help on the d line

  2. ken says:

    I don’t know what you have been watching but to say Girardi’s play has regressed since the beginning of the season is down right asinine! Even Dave Maloney was saying just last game how solid Girardi’s play has been! I agree with you 100% about Klein, his play has been bad since the 2nd half of last season, but you are way off on Girardi!!

    • Chris A says:

      I wouldn’t say he’s way off. Girardi has been decent, but he’s still looking exposed on the top pair. To Girardi’s credit he looks like he can hack the NHL again, unlike last year when he looked like a Beer Leaguer skating in the NHL.

      As for Klein, I think he has to stay out of the lineup until one of the other Ds play their way out of the lineup. Klein has looked really slow and weak on the puck all season.

  3. Richter1994 says:


  4. Bobby B says:

    Should have been packaged in a trade last year when his value was at an all time high. We have the 3 amigos as D-men. Girardi/Staal/Klein, give me a young and salary friendly Mcllrath any day over these 3. I do not think Clendening is the answer, but he is a better option then Klein at this stage.

    • Al Dugan says:

      Hate to let you down, but DMac has played exactly ONE game for FLA and it was a bit of a disaster. Hasn’t seen the ice since November 17th. I think he’ll be an ex-NHLer next year.

  5. TopCorner says:

    Sure the defense is aging, but they are still playing better than last year. Could use some youth and rotation.

    Klein/Giradi/Clendening need to be in a rotation.

  6. joe719 says:

    Always the same thing here. The guy who is in the pressbox, is always the guy the fans want in the lineup. No matter that the guy has no resume or pedigree to speak of. Just let a Larry Brooks suggest that they put the guy in the lineup, and it seems a lot of people jump on the bandwagon. Usually after a bad stretch by the team. If anybody really thinks that putting a Clendening in the lineup will have any real impact on the Defense, then the Defense is a lot worse than what they’ve shown so far. Look, a trade is coming down the line to shore up the D. It will probably cost a Lindberg or a Fast. Clendening, if anything, is just a shot in the dark. If he shows anything, great—-but he’s just a stopgap until the deadline. Then we’ll see if Gorton can earn his paycheck.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      We love (and overrate) our marginal prospects and journeyman players Joe! 🙂

      • joe719 says:

        And we underrate some of our better prospects, and watch them have successful careers someplace else.

  7. DAVID k says:

    They need to waive Girardi & Klein and see if anyone picks them up. There has got to be one more defensemen in Hartford ready to play.

  8. James says:

    Clendening Holden and Klien are all the same player