New York Rangers: Kevin Klein Must Be Traded


The New York Rangers are up against the cap, and while they need some help on their back-end, they should trade Kevin Klein this offseason.

There is little room for errors by GM’s in today’s salary-cap world, which makes personnel decisions that much more important. GM’s can’t overvalue their players, and they can’t allow loyalty to get in the way of making smart hockey decisions. Glen Sather, GM of the New York Rangers, isn’t the brightest with my latter statement. But, if he can make good on the former, the Rangers cap problems will hamper a return to the Cup Final for years. That is why Sather must trade depth players, specifically Kevin Klein.

In order to be a successful team over a long period of time, like the Chicago Blackhawks, you need your management to do certain things well. One of them is getting a good return on a player whose value is at its peak. That is what the Blackhawks have done with players like Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, and, most recently, Dave Bolland. Klein is like these players because he had a career-year, which was great to see, but it is highly unlikely to happen again.

Klein had carrer highs in goals (9), assists (17), and points (26), while having a ridiculous 11.8 shooting percentage. Consider that in his previous three seasons, Klein scored a combined nine goals. That should tell you all you need to know. Not only was Klein’s shooting-percentage insanely high; but, his underlying statistics were not pretty either.

Klein had a 11.8% shooting percentage, which was fifth on the Rangers, and by far Klein’s highest shooting percentage of his career. His SAT rel% was -1.64%, which isnt great, especially for someone that is being viewed as a top-four defenseman.

New York Rangers
New York Rangers /

New York Rangers

Klein carries a $2.9 million cap-hit, and has three years remaining on his deal. Considering that he is a prime candidate for regression next year, this would seem like the ideal time to cash in on Klein’s high value and bring a piece in return.

Rumors have been swirling that Klein might end up in a potential Cam Talbot trade to the Edmonton Oilers, as the Rangers would have to sweeten the pot if they intend to get the 16th pick in the draft from the Oilers. Talbot and Klein could potentially land the Rangers the 16th pick and a prospect, a pair of draft picks, or a second round pick and a prospect.

The Rangers would definitely be able to replace Klein on their back end, either by finding a bargain in free-agency or from within their prospect pool, with Brady Skjei being the ideal candidate to replace Klein. Also, if the Rangers were to re-sign Matt Hunwick, he could potentially be the sixth defenseman and become one of the biggest bargains in the league next year. Either way, the Rangers have the pieces to replace Klein.

Not only would trading Klein open up a spot for a younger player, but it could save the Rangers some money. With so many players hitting free-agency this year and next, the Rangers brass will have to shed a salary sooner rather than later. Clearing Klein’s cap hit could help keep Carl Hagelin in New York, and potentially help the re-signing of Chris Kreider next offseason.

Klein was a great fifth defenseman, but he can’t be relied upon to be a top-four guy. He will likely regress next year, and the Rangers must strike while the iron is hot. Trading Klein will help free up some much needed cap space, and the Rangers can replace his production easily.

Next: Replacing St. Louis Could Be Tougher Than Most Think

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