I'm going to be honest, I don't know all that much about Kevin Klein other than what I read about him yesterday, so I'm not even going to pretend to be an expert on his background, but from the negative reaction I've seen from Predators fans regarding the trade, I get the suspicion that Rangers Nation won't be…
So, instead of me trying to makeup some kind of scouting report on Klein like I know what I'm talking about I'll let some people who actually watch him on a nightly basis do it for me. Here's Bloguin brother Fang Finger…
"For those who are unfamiliar with his game, Klein is not a risk and plays smart. His penalty killing abilities are on point. On most nights, Klein can log around 18 minutes, even as high as 24 on occasion. When an offensive opportunity presents itself to Klein, he isn't shy in taking advantage of it. Also, his play in the defensive end can be classified as "gritty", but gritty usually means physical. And I would not classify Klein as physical, but he can be when he feels it is good opportunity to force a turnover.
In my opinion, Klein may be the best 2nd line defenseman in the league."
…wow, that's some damn high praise for Mr. Klein. Gritty? Yeah, I like gritty. And that's exactly the kind of player that's been missing on the Rangers blueline this season.
I saw a lot of you guys posting video of Klein's fighting prowess yesterday, which Fang Finger also touches on…
"It is obvious to know his strategy. Klein fights like a hockey player should — not holding back, hesitating or waiting for the other guy to make the first move. Instead, he relentlessly throws wild punches that will land to the face of the opponent."
You mean, like this?…
…Oh. My. God. I don't think I've ever seen more violent punches thrown in a fight by both players. And just when you thought that fracas couldn't get any better, the Predators announcer, in the midst of what sounds like an orgasm, blurts out "OLD SCHOOL!!!!!."
…despite the fact that Klein isn't afraid to throw down with some of the toughest guys in the league, please don't be fooled into thinking he's an enforcer unless you truly want to be disappointed. Because he's not. He's just a hard-nosed player, who'll do the heavy lifting when needed.
Now it's not all roses and perfume when it comes to Klein as The Hockey News gives this insight into his flaws…
"Doesn't use his size with enough consistency, so as to gain an advantage against NHL forwards. Is inconsistent in terms of point production and offensive impact on a game, as well."
…yeah, I'm pretty sure his three points this season taught us all we needed to know about Klein's offensive issues.
…i've also seen some conflicting reports about Klein's skating ability, so I guess we'll have to wait till he takes the ice tonight before we can make our own judgement on that.
The big question on Klein is if he's as good as Fanger Finger indicates and Nashville just signed him to a five year extension last season, why in the world would they be trading him away for an enigmatic player such as Del Zotto?
According to Dirk Hoag at On the Forecheck, the answer is the log jam on the right side of the defense created by drafting Seth Jones last June.
…obviously Seth Jones wasn't even a thought in Nashville's mind when they extended Klein last January, but when the 2013 fourth overall pick dropped into the Predators lap the organization's entire outlook on their defense corps was radically altered and Klein was the odd man out. He provides solid minutes, but not at expense of playing time for Jones.
…the more time I've had to process this trade the more I'm beginning to really like it. Big bodied, gritty, right-handed defenseman, who will allow a young offensively gifted defenseman in John Moore to take a few more chances with the puck? What's not to like. Plus, it got Del Zotto the hell out of here.