Archive for Kevin Klein
I find the NHL Draft to be such an interesting concept. Not only do front offices have to be ready to deal with reacting to their punch list of player rankings and how to best utilize those picks, they also must engage in rapid-fire trade discussions and last minute pick movement. Fascinating. The Rangers are in an unusual position (for them, at least) at the Draft this season, having no high picks and several valuable assets. There are numerous ways the next two days can play out, so naturally, I have some thoughts.
- Might as well start with Cam Talbot. Over the last few weeks, we have gotten a little better idea about where his market stands in the context of a potential bidding war between Buffalo, San Jose, Edmonton and potentially teams like Dallas or Florida. The claim is that Sather turned down two second round picks. I trust the big guy’s trading prowess, and that’s a solid return to turn your nose up at in a very deep draft.
The New York Rangers defense has been called elite by some, and a disaster by others. The reality of the unit is that it is somewhere in the middle, much like how Suit graded them yesterday. The Rangers seem to be set on the left side. They have a legit top pairing defenseman in Ryan McDonagh, at least two solid top-four in Keith Yandle and Marc Staal, and then, well, it gets fuzzy on the right side.
Starting with Dan Girardi, who appears to be the most divisive topic among Ranger fans later, the Rangers have a player who thrived under John Tortorella’s zone collapse defensive zone style. But under Alain Vigneault, Girardi’s lack of foot speed, poor gap control, and poor positioning have many questioning if he can keep up in a strong side overload/man coverage system. I’ve already suggested that the Rangers consider dropping him from his top pairing role, to mixed reviews.
Dan Boyle was brought in to help the powerplay –at the expense of Anton Stralman, who I needed to mention at least once in this post due to the situation, but will forego mentioning him again– and was relatively unsuccessful. He made the opposition mindful of his presence, and he certainly gave them options, but the results simply were not there.
It’s no secret that the New York Rangers are in a bit of a cap crunch. They are already deep in conversations to clear $1.45 million by trading Cam Talbot, but even that’s not enough to sign their four key RFAs. The blue line for the Rangers currently costs them $25.925 million, which is relatively absurd. Out of those contracts, the only one that seems remotely moveable is Kevin Klein.
Klein’s contract is actually pretty cap friendly, with three years remaining at a $2.9 million cap hit. What makes him more appealing for budget teams is that after Klein’s $3 million salary this year, it drops to $2.75 million for the last two years of the deal. That makes him even more marketable to budget teams that need to save money every step of the way.
Klein is coming off a career year, where he scored nine goals and added 17 assists for 26 points. He also finished a whopping +24, which for some reason still means something to some GMs. For the first three months of the season, Klein was arguably the Rangers’ best defenseman.
At the optional skate today, injured defenseman Kevin Klein was on the ice. Klein has been out since March with a broken wrist and missed the entire first round series against the Penguins. Klein has been “nearing a return” for quite some time now.
Mats Zuccarello, who took a Ryan McDonagh shot to the noggin during Game Five, was not on the ice for the optional skate. Zuccarello didn’t return to Game Five, which is a rarity for injuries in the playoffs.
Update: Zuccarello is out indefinitely.
I was listening to the radio yesterday, and I couldn’t believe my ears. Hockey was being discussed, and it wasn’t Boomer and Carton or Michael Kay and Don La Greca. Once I got over my initial shock of hearing hockey on the radio discussed by a voice in which I could not identify, I started listening to the topic at hand.
The topic intrigued me: When Kevin Klein comes back, who should sit?
It got me thinking. Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, and Keith Yandle are not coming out of the lineup. All have been pretty solid in this series as well. So it’s really between Matt Hunwick and Dan Boyle.
Dan Girardi will play in Game Two tonight, despite taking a puck to the jaw in Game One and not returning. Girardi left in the third period after the injury as the Rangers held on to a 2-1 lead to take the first game of the series. Kevin Klein, out since March with a broken arm, will not make return tonight. Klein is close, and still considered day-to-day, but Matt Hunwick is doing just fine as his replacement for now.
To go on a playoff run, a team needs solid goaltending first and foremost. It needs to stay healthy, and a good bit of luck. And it needs contributions from up and down the lineup.When the game inevitably tightens up in crunch time, the snipers and playmaking artists are often mitigated in favor of greasy goals with traffic in front of the net. They tend to come from unlikely sources – cement-handed Brian Boyle was among New York’s most dependable postseason scorers in recent years.
So who are the candidates to become overnight heroes this spring? Ignoring the top offensive guys – and that now most certainly includes J.T. Miller and Kevin Hayes – here are the cases for the grinders:
James Sheppard – GM Glen Sather made a point of noting Sheppard’s performance in last year’s playoffs when he scored six points in seven games against the eventual champion Kings. Sheppard has a nose for the net, which works to his advantage this time of year. The biggest thing working against Becky’s latest crush is his spot on the depth chart – there’s no guarantee he’ll even dress for many games.
Rick Nash – just kidding (kind of).
Per Josh Thomson, injured defenseman Kevin Klein did not practice today and will not practice tomorrow. That puts Klein’s return for Game One in doubt, as Alain Vigneault has mentioned that Klein needs to practice before he can play. It is unlikely Klein, who has been out since March with a broken arm, plays in Game One.
Matt Hunwick will stay in the lineup for now, and has done a serviceable job in replacing Klein in the lineup.
Kevin Klein is skating with the healthy scratches (Henrik Lundqvist, James Sheppard) today (per Andrew Gross), and it is possible a weekend return may be in the works. Klein is scheduled to be getting an x-ray this week. If all comes back positive, he should be back before the playoffs start. He is just softly passing the puck, so this weekend may be an aggressive timeline.
The defense hasn’t really missed a beat with Klein out, as Matt Hunwick has been pretty solid in replacing Klein. That said, welcoming Klein back would be nice, especially if it takes some of the tougher minutes off Dan Girardi.
Per Steve Zipay, inured defenseman Kevin Klein is slated to get x-rays on his fractured left arm this week, which will determine if/when he returns from the injury. He is currently skating but not stickhandling. The original timeline had him slated to return for the playoffs, but Sam Rosen mentioned on the most recent broadcast that the Rangers are hoping to get him one game before the playoffs.
For today’s game, the lineup remains unchanged, per Brett Cyrgalis.