Jun
05

Is Kevin Klein heading towards a buyout?

June 5, 2017, by
kevin klein

Photo: Jim McIsaac (Newsday)

The focus of the Rangers offseason has rightly been about the futures of Dan Girardi and Marc Staal. Those are major pieces to the offseason. However there is still some work to do beyond Girardi and Staal. Nick Holden will likely be around next year, despite what most want. But the future of Kevin Klein seems to be up in the air.

Klein wasn’t a regular in the lineup in the second half of the season, playing in just six games down the stretch and appearing in just one playoff game. When he was in the lineup, Klein was a third pairing defenseman who struggled to keep up with the ever increasing speed of the young guns in the NHL. With one year and $2.9 million left on his contract, the cash-strapped Rangers don’t have many options with Klein.

Klein likely isn’t an attractive trade asset for most teams. His contract isn’t toxic, but isn’t really workable for most teams either. A bottom pairing (or worse) defenseman making $2.9 million just isn’t something teams are really looking for. However the Rangers do have one thing working for them: Klein has just one year remaining.

With a trade unlikely, at least in my opinion, a buyout is really one of the only options the Rangers have. Klein’s buyout isn’t as tough a pill to swallow as that of Girardi or Staal. The first year of the buyout would be a $1.067 million cap hit, a savings of $1.83 million. The second year would only be a cap hit of $916,667. Very manageable.

It’s highly unlikely the Rangers go the buyout route on three players this summer. While the Girardi and Staal questions still loom large, it looks like the Klein decision might be clear cut. Naturally a trade is preferred, but a buyout is a very real option. We will know a lot more on June 15, when the buyout period begins. Chaos reigns supreme this June.

Categories : Players

57 comments

  1. Mikeyyy says:

    Man what a covfefe.

  2. Rhodork says:

    Can’t they just waive him to AHL out of training camp?

    Then would only have this year’s cap hit at $950K?

    Or do I have the rules wrong?

    • Tim B says:

      Wade Redden rule i believe

    • Walt says:

      The rule, as I understand it is, $950 is buried, and the balance will go against the cap!!!!!!!!!!!

      Look, worst case scenario, Klein stays as the 7th d-man, who can play against the weaker, slower teams. Amazing how far, and how fast our defense went to hell over night!!!!!!!!!!

    • Dave says:

      You have it reversed. $950k is saved, so it would still be about a $2 million cap hit.

  3. 43 says:

    Should’ve traded him years ago when we had the chance.

  4. SalMerc says:

    Klein is actually the only contract that can possibly be bought out. We just cannot afford to buy out either Staal or Girardi, no matter how many BSB faithful call for it.

    If one doesn’t get moved in the off-season via trade, start bracing yourself for the unthinkable.

    • 43 says:

      Dan Rosen said to expect Girardi to be bought out, so I think even reputable NHL sources anticipate the Rangers “affording” to buy him out. I think Dave even broke down how the Rangers actually benefit fiscally from buying the twins out.

    • Dave says:

      They can afford it. It’s whether they have the balls to do it.

      • SalMerc says:

        I think it puts a strangle hold on their Cap number for far too many years in the future. I am guessing they don’t

        • Jay says:

          Actually, if they are replaced by young, inexpensive, replacements, there can still be net savings in cap space.

      • pavel_burito says:

        I don’t think they have the balls. From Larry Brooks (yeah, I know, but still, not much out there right now).

        Rangers have not told either Dan Girardi or Marc Staal to expect a buyout prior to the expansion draft, nor has management asked either veteran defenseman to waive his no-move clause, sources said. But that does not mean either possibility has been ruled out, because there essentially is no chance both will remain on the roster when training camp commences.

  5. Spozo says:

    Personally I’d rather Klein plus either Girardi or Staal bought out than Girardi and Staal. I can’t stomach that much dead cap space!

  6. Ray says:

    Sorry, this idea is flat out ridiculous. The Rangers can save $950K by burying the contract. Your plan offers a total cap savings of $917K, in other words, $33K LESS than burying. It does have the advantage of moving cap space around, but I don’t see the point of borrowing next year’s cap space. It is not like cap problems are going to go away.

    And Kevin Klein is not without value. You may think that a third pair defenseman with a $2.9M cap hit is worthless, but not to a team with extra cap space and a really thin defense. And, in the position of a GM now, what do you make of Klein anyway. He was fine a year ago, but seems to have fallen off a cliff for no real reason. He may rebound — looks like an interesting option, especially if I am desperate.

    You are absolutely correct that most teams are not interested in trading for Klein with his current contract. But it only takes ONE.

    At BSB, there is little appreciation for how many bad defensemen there are in the NHL. The Ranger defense may pale in comparison to Nashville, but I think it is actually better than what the Penguins are trying to win the Cup with (and that means without Letang).

    • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

      I think I’ve said this before, but, I’d be willing to bet it’s his back.

      He had issues with that years prior, and honestly, it’s an issue that generally gets worse over time, not better.

      Hopefully he can still play.

    • Spozo says:

      Thanks for that last paragraph Ray! I swear the norm on this blog and comments has become either you’re elite or you’re awful!

      You don’t make it to the Semifinals with an awful defense. Are they a Stanley cup contending defense? No. Are they in the bottom 1/3 of the league. No!

      And look no further than any discussion about Stepan. He’s not elite therefore he’s awful.

      • Egelstein says:

        I can’t speak for everyone, but my gripe with the defense is that it seems as though it could be a lot better a few various possible ways. IMO some of that is roster building failure, and a lot of it is coaching failure. Dan Girardi doesn’t need to be on the top pair. It’s okay to sit a veteran instead of Clendening. Young guys who are clearly better athletes at this point than some veterans can be trusted in the third period in a tight game. Etc.

        I don’t think the Rangers need an elite D corps to be serious contenders, personally, due to the great forward depth. I think they need to be much smarter about where this defense is today, and where it could somewhat easily be tomorrow instead.

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          I would agree with you if the forward depth was truly “great”. There are no “great” players there. At least not at the moment. Yes, you can make the case that Rangers roll out more “depth” than most teams, but if none of those players are elite, then to be the depth is largely irrelvant against the league’s better teams. And I don’t think our attack is anywhere near as scary as some make them out to be.

          As I’ve said before, the formula for a deep Cup run generally requires at least two of the following–

          1) Top tier 1C
          2) Norris candidate spearheading a shutdown pair
          3) significant defensive depth like the Rangers had in 2014 and 2015 (before they got injured)
          4) high end goaltending.

          We don’t currently possess the top three, and even number 4 isn’t as “high end” as it once was.

          I don’t think defensive deployment changes a thing. What is crucial is that we upgrade, create more depth, and hope that one of our “faux” stars become legit stars that can actually be counted on to carry a team deep. What and if that happens, we will have a chance.

          Also, I think the notion that the Pens defense is some “trainwreck” is way overstated. But even if true, it’s amazing how actual stars like Crosby and Malkin can cover up areas of weakness. We don’t have those players, so we need more things working up and down the lineup in order to advance.

          • Ray says:

            I don’t think there is any kind of formula for winning the Cup – except for the obvious, have a good team. Obviously you can look at recent winners and see what they have in common — but obviously they have things in common because a small number of teams always have things in common.

            Frankly, it is easier to win with Crosby or McDavid than with depth for the simple reason that having eighteen excellent players is really hard to achieve, whereas lots of teams have a Crosby or Ovechkin or Toews.

            However, if you look at Ranger team with Zuccarello, Brassard, Pouliot on the third line, that team was harder to stop from scoring than Sidney Crosby. Because a team that has three lines that can really score is going to be able to send out one of those lines against the opposing third defensive pair.

            The way you win is not by following a stupid formula but by doing your best with the opportunities at hand.

            And enough of the faux star crap. In the history of the NHL, only 60 players have scored 450 goals. 42 of he 60 are in the HOF and I expect the majority of the rest to join them. Of the remaining 18, five are still active and only Verbeek retired before 1999. Rick Nash is at 416 and presumably will easily join the club. Rick Nash may or may not end up in the HOF, but he is most definitely a star.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              Ray-

              Yes, you are right, that 2014 team was good, in part because they imported a future HOFer in MSL who, while no longer elite, still provided that star power and lifted his game significantly in the playoffs.

              But in the end, we fell short. Why? They had Kopitar. We didnt have that caliber of center. They had Doughty. McDonagh was a step below. They had a legit sniper in Gaborik, who I would argue was better at that time than MSL.

              Before you dismiss what I say as “crap”, please look at the all the Stanley Cup Champs since the 2004-05 lockout and show me one that didnt have a significant degree of high end talent.

              I don’t disagree about Nash. But Nash WAS an elite star. He isn’t quite the same player today. Even Hank, still a great player obviously, is clearly not the same player he was 2-3 years ago.

              Of course you are right. You make do with what you have. And if all breaks right, hey, you can make a deep run. But win it all? Again, look at the Rangers roster today and explain to me how we win the Cup with no defensive depth, a very good but not Norris level McDonagh, and a 1C that is hardly regarded as one of the top 10 in his sport? You don’t need all these components but you are as heck need at least one or two!

              It’s not crap. It’s facts. Now, it can change obviously. Players grow and mature. Older players like Nash and Hank can have bounce back seasons that restore them to the top of the pyramid players they have been in the past. But the roster now? Uh-uh.

              Miller, Hayes, Kreider, Vesey, Buch, Zib. All good players. All young players with room to grow. What they will grow into is the key. That’s why I call them “faux stars”. They aren’t there yet. And until or unless they get there, winning a Cup as currently designed is not very likely.

              Sorry…it’s not crap. It’s pretty much NHL reality.

              • Ray says:

                First of all, the crap referred to your reference of Ranger faux stars. In your world, Kopitar is an elite player and Nash isn’t???? Doughty is somehow better than McDonagh.

                Over the last three years, 29 yr. old Kopitar has 190 points, 29 yr. old Zuccarello has 169. In goals, it is 56 for Zucc and 53 for Kopitar. So Kopitar has one fewer goal and eight more assists per season. These are not guys who are worlds apart.

                You are right about one thing at the bottom of this. There is a tendency of some Ranger fans to overestimate the skill of some of the players, especially young players. But it is important to realize that the rest of us here don’t agree with each other — and just because some people overestimate Miller for example doesn’t mean you are not underestimating him.

                When I was a kid, my parents or others would tease me with “So you’re right and the world is wrong”. Well, when I got older, I learned the truth. The world was often wrong, but even so, I could still be wrong in a different way.

                And I explained why there was no reason to look at all of the post lockout champs. We are talking about a whopping seven teams. Well, seven very good teams are going to have things in common. I am sure you can look at the group and conclude that there is absolutely no way that a team whose best defenseman is Trevor Daley could possibly win the Cup.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                To win a Cup Ray, you need some players to step up. And step up big time. Kreider, Miller, Hayes, Nash, Stepan were anywhere from average to awful. You have very little chance to win more than a round, let alone go all the way, with no show performances from your most talented players. That’s my point.

                You are correct about Trevor Daley. He probably doesnt win a Cup on any other team. The Pens could win a Cup with Girardi or Staal back there because they have legendary players to compensate for their shortcomings. We don’t.

                I’m not underestimating what Miller CAN be. He is still young so who knows? I am commenting on what he is and has been. He is an improving player who had his best year thus far. That’s fact. He is also a player who, along with Hayes, was painfully ineffective since mid-February and was not only virtually non-existent this post-season, but has one playoff goal in something like 42 games. That’s also fact. Sorry, you are not winning a Cup with that kind off production from arguably your most talented player.

                His performance screams “faux star”–today. We have no idea what he will be tomorrow, just like all the Stepan-haters have no idea if their piñata won’t have his breakout year this coming season.

              • Reenavipul says:

                Kopitar fell off a cliff last season.

              • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

                That’s true. I’m not talking about the 2017 Kopitar. I’m talking about the 2014 Kopitar. Kopitar, Doughty and Gaborik were, other than the goalies, the best players out there in the SCF. Those are players who raised their game when it mattered.

          • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

            ” …would agree with you if the forward depth was truly “great”. There are no “great” players there. At least not at the moment”
            ________________

            This is true…. to be fair, I have some hope for two of our players to potentially fill that void.

            Kreider would (if he had the heart of Pete Rose minus the gambling crap), and Buch might if he continues his progress next year.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              I have hope for all of them actually. Every year brings a renewed optimism. You just never know. But at least one of them needs to take a significant step forward at some point for this formula to work.

            • Egelstein says:

              Fourth in the league in goals per game during the regular season. As it stands right now, also fourth in the playoffs.

              Great forward depth is why. Not elite forward depth, and not because of any one great player.

          • Egelstein says:

            I think defensive deployment issues were HUGE for the Rangers the last few seasons. I have no idea how anyone could think otherwise, frankly.

            Did you see how many games were lost late by this team the past season, and who was often on the ice to defend leads or try to preserve ties in the moments that effectively tilted those games, while other more skilled and fresher defenders were unnecessarily on the bench (or sometimes worse yet, in the press box)?

            Not to mention Glass being rammed into the lineup unbelievably again for his supposed-by-AV-yet-not-at-all-statistically-justified defensive prowess. His nickname should be “Goals Against Glass”. If you want to count that as a defensive deployment (it sure as hell wasn’t an offensive-based decision), then there’s an example of this vile nonsense affecting even the forward group.

            The Rangers run a defensive system that absolutely requires adequate-skating defensemen who can consistently make the quality outlet pass. Too often there are defenders who can do neither in the top four and/or in high leverage moments, and simply put, they don’t need to be.

            That’s absolutely terrible deployment. Pretty much the very definition of it.

  7. Reenavipul says:

    *If* Klein can rehab and PT his back & core into shape, he could work as a 7th D. If he can’t, then he fails his physical. If you can’t keep up, you’re not able to perform your duties as a player under paragraph 5 of the SPC due to injury.

    When he came back, he had zero strength in his skating stride. The staff need to measure his outputs and compare them to others for a possible player grievance.

    • Walt says:

      LTIR could be a very good option for the team, along with Staal and his vision!!!!!!!!!!

      • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

        Hell, LTIR could be an excellent solution for *anyone* who thinks Staal should even be here next year!

        Brain injuries are serious!

        • Walt says:

          there are plenty on this site that think he belongs, so are they brain dead???????????? LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Al Hirschen says:

    The New York Rangers will be without at least one young forward for training camp after announcing that Jesper Fast would be out for five months following hip surgery today.

    • Egelstein says:

      Yeah, just saw that. The whole expansion scenario and trying to gauge what Gorton is/isn’t going to do wasn’t complicated enough already, haha.

  9. kris says:

    I dont think Klein will be that hard to move. A team like Carolina comes to mind, young defense, boat load of cap room. Figure NYR would easily give him up for a 4/5th round pick. Come the trade deadline when Carolina does not look to make the playoffs, they flip him for a 2/3 round pick because its the deadline and RH dman, with grit plus playoff experience.

    • Reenavipul says:

      Is Carolina getting or giving a pick?

    • Ray says:

      Be careful. It isn’t just about cap room. Teams like NYR and Toronto and Chicago have tons of money and just care about the cap, but other teams have to worry about expenses. They may not want a $2.9M player simply because they don’t want to spend the $2.9M.

      • Kris says:

        2.9 on an expiring contract isnt the same as an additional year left on a contract. A guy like Klein is also easily moved at the deadline, was my main point.

        While I happened to choose Carolina for cap room and young defense. Say Vegas takes Antti as their selection from us, and doesnt take a goalie from Carolina, that would leave Carolina with 3. Could trade Klein for Lack/Ward and then sign a cheap 7th. Would keep us in the same spot cap wise but no money on the books next year (minimal but still money) that the buyout would bring.

  10. Richter1994 says:

    KK is tradeable, no need for a buyout.

    • ANGRY WIENER DOG STAMPEDE says:

      Yeah, I agree; KK could potentially net us a 5th rounder. He still has a solid reputation, and it’s not like he’s pushing 40 or something

      • Richter1994 says:

        I have thought the Oilers might take him, and yes, I have him going there for a 5th rounder as well. So I agree.

        It’s funny that Eklund reported the rumor about Staal and a first to Vegas because my guys are saying that Gorton wants to trade Staal before signing Shatty. Pretty much what Eklund said but it may not be the Vegas scenario that Eklund says.

  11. bernmeister says:

    Disagree dave w/title ?

    He gets a 3rd easy, w/decent add, like a 4th, commands a second.

    Trade
    No brainer

  12. Jay says:

    Interesting conversation, but none of it really matters while AV is around to play has beens or never was 30 pluses over young talent.

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      Skjei, Vesey, Kreider, Zib and the rest of a roster that was the 8th youngest in the league this past year after being the 2nd oldest in the league the prior year and still improved would surely suggest that your statement is a fallacy.