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Get to Know a Ranger: Kevin Klein

As part of the build-up to the second-round playoff series between the Capitals and the Rangers, Japers' Rink will be looking at some of the important but perhaps lesser-known players on the Rangers and how they might impact the series.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Klein

#8/ Defenseman/ New York Rangers

6-1 |  199 |  December 13, 1984

Kitchener, ON, Canada |  37th, 2003 (Predators)

Assets Blocks shots with aplomb and can play a shutdown role, if needed. Is mobile and can move the puck up ice. Is also a solid contributor on special teams. Owns a good-sized frame.
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.
Career Potential Solid, versatile but inconsistent defenseman.(Assets, Flaws and Career Potential via The Hockey News player page)

Career Rolling Corsi-For Percentage:

HERO Chart (via Own The Puck):

2015 Rangers Player Usage
Klein Usage
Why you should know who he is: Back in January of 2014, Barry Trotz's Nashville Predators traded Kevin Klein to the New York Rangers in exchange for Michael Del Zotto, and Klein became a mainstay on Alain Vigneault's blueline during the Rangers' run to a Stanley Cup Final appearance. This year, Klein played 65 games before an Alex Ovechkin slapshot broke his forearm on March 11, and he looks primed to return against his harm-doer's team.

He led Rangers' blueliners in 5v5 points with 23, and it's worth noting that his 10.64% on-ice shooting percentage also leads the team; his teammates shoot well alongside him. Klein's score-adjusted possession numbers are on the right side of 50, but compared to his teammates he can be a bit of anchor— but then again, possession has hardly been the Rangers' calling card this season. In fact, Klein's numbers are representative of the Rangers' teamwide trends— middling possession numbers, buoyed by outstanding goaltending and big time shooting percentages.

How the Caps can stop him: Klein only appeared in two games against the Caps this, both in which he was held pointless. At Madison Square Garden, Klein likely won't be seeing too much of Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom— that's a draw that's going to Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi. But that means he's (and his partner, which probably hinges on the questionable healths of Keith Yandle and Marc Staal) an probably going to get an ample taste of two of the Caps best skaters (and by far their hottest player) in Marcus Johansson and Evgeny Kuznetsov.

On March 11, Kuznetsov skated circles around Klein, as Klein posted a 27% CF in 6:54 of 5v5 TOI against the young Russian. Alex Ovechkin only nabbed 3 minutes of even strength ice time against Klein (before breaking his arm), but still managed to be on the ice for 8 shot attempts for, to only 1 going the other way (an 11 CF% for Klein). Neither of these matchups seem particularly favorable for Klein— albeit with a tiny sample size— and Trotz will no doubt use his familiar with both Klein, and with his own players, to figure out what works best.

Oh, and whatever the Caps do, they definitely shouldn't rip his ear off.