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The huge implications of Kevin Klein’s potential retirement

Kevin Klein’s retirement would shave $2.9 million from the Rangers’ cap total

Larry Brooks dropped the first of potentially many bombshells yesterday with his report that Kevin Klein is leaning towards retirement from the NHL. Though Brooks cautioned that Klein’s mind is not made up, it sounds like New York might be gifted $2.9 million in cap space at a very opportune time.

Klein only has one year remaining on his pact, but with Rick Nash’s hefty $7.8 million cap hit coming off the books next summer, the Rangers are really only worried about a cap bind in the short term. CapFriendly currently projects New York’s 2017-2018 cap total at $63.8 million, but wiping Klein from the ledger would drop them to $60.9 million of the projected $73 million ceiling.

That’s likely enough room to re-sign RFAs Mika Zibanejad, Jesper Fast and Oscar Lindberg, and to retain Brendan Smith without any additional money-saving moves. If the Blueshirts elect to buy out Marc Staal or Dan Girardi in the coming days, they could suddenly be flush with cap space and primed for a run at Kevin Shattenkirk or Ilya Kovalchuk in addition to keeping those aforementioned players.

That also means potential trades of Derek Stepan and others wouldn’t need to be driven by cap implications at all – they’d be transactions made to improve the club or not at all.

The cap savings also help in the short term, as the Blueshirts still need to ink one more forward for next season to be compliant with expansion draft regulations or risk facing penalties. That figures to be one of Fast or Lindberg, but those players currently hold leverage as they know the tricky circumstances and aren’t facing the same timeline as their parent club. But with the additional savings of a Klein departure, New York could afford to increase their offer to either player by a couple hundred thousand dollars, which might be a worthy price to pay to avoid being stripped of a draft pick.

Klein has been a consummate professional during his time on Broadway, but this could a gift not dissimilar to the one bestowed by Markus Naslund when he abruptly retired in 2009.

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    • Could he get a longer, more long term, profitable deal in Europe, possible living somewhere that costs less to live, plus isn’t the European league less physical too… possible giving him a less painful end to his career?

      all signs could make this better for him… no?

      I like everything Gordon has done with the hand he was given….
      I think teams didn’t give him what he wanted at last seasons deadline…

      its the “Cigar Curse”

      • In Europe, unless you’re eligible for an EU passport, they are only looking for point production from imports. He’d make more money off of disability than he would in 3 years in Europe.

        If you’re a bottom 6 AHLer (but scored in junior) you can carve out a decent career better paid than the A as income is tax free, car & housing are provided. If you’re too good for the A, but can’t stick in the NHL, you can make more than the NHL minimum in Switzerland.

        If you are going into camp this year on a tryout/1yr deal trying to make it, your agent should have your backup plan in place. Some guys should even sign in Europe for CHL 1st weekend games, then have an out for a NHL camp.

    • I don’t know. Suppose you’ve already made $17M and you decide you want to hang up your skates. Do you want another $2.9M that you really don’t deserve? I am not saying everyone views it this way, but some likely do. It is part of going out on your own terms.

      Incidentally, he is actually supposed to get $2.75M next year. Does he have to give the other $150K back for not living up to his contract, or do the Rangers get a special $150K cap hit since the total cap hit is supposed to match the amount paid?

  • If Kevin retires, I’ll stand in line and thank him for some good years of service to this organization. The additional cap relief will greatly be appreciated!!!!!!!!

    Now to rest of the business at hand. First move, get rid of the Twins, and Daisy, then we’ll be in the cat’s seat!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I would like to see Sather retire permanently somewhere far away from MSG and have absolutely no say in anything anymore……He ranks right below Esposito and Milbury as worst GMs of all time!

      • Yeah, it’s not like we are living through the literal best 12 year stretch in the history of the franchise.

        I know most of the readers and bloggers here will say I’m insane, but Glen Sather is, by far, the most successful GM the Rangers have ever had. Never forget that the #1 reason the Rangers were one of the biggest laughing stocks in the NHL from 1998-2004 was Neil Smith’s inability to draft anything of consequence in his final 4 drafts. Go to hockey reference, look at the draft record from 1996-1999, there were even some top 10 picks in those years, and Smith still managed to whiff.

        The only players Smith landed in that time frame were a career checking center at #6 overall (Malhotra) and a guy that was very good, Marc Savard, that Smith traded away after 100 NHL games along with a first round pick for virtually nothing (the pick for Jamie Lundmark and Jan Hlavac).

  • I’m sure if Brooks knows of this then management has known for quite some time. Maybe this has slightly lightened the need to dump Staal or Girardi? Maybe the rumored Staal plus a 1st rounder doesn’t have to be done since 2.9 is potentially coming off the books? All of a sudden their cap situation doesn’t seem as dire!

    • I am still waiting for Klein’s official announcement, not a beat writers conjecture. If it is true it helps the Cap, but does not help our defense.

  • I guess he see’s the sign on the wall, AV will not play you and AV needs different looser to count on. I guess if he thought he had a chance of the Cup he would want to stay.

  • Now maybe we can sweeten the pot , with a trade of stall/stephen, by adding some money any trade partners to rid us of stall bad contract. Buy-out Dan and we sitting in Cat-Bird Seat

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