Here's the most amazing thing about the offense Kevin Klein is providing for the New York Rangers: Mike was probably just as close to explaining why it happened with this cartoon as anyone else will be in explaining just exactly what is going on with Klein.
The logical guess? Anomalies happen in sports all the time. Klein is on a violent hot streak that is seeing him terrorize opponents and score big goal after big goal for the Rangers. Klein's career high goal mark coming into this season? Four. This year's total through 30 games? Seven.
But it actually gets stranger. Kevin Power did a little experiment yesterday that really piqued my interest. Take a look at this:
Ignore the Nash numbers, just focus on Klein's (they're on the left). The top, blue bar is Klein's shooting accuracy -- or shots that hit the net. The bottom bar is Klein's shooting percentage (percentage of shots that hit the net that go in). Each dot represents a full year's worth of data, with the most recent being on the left. Notice something strange?
Klein is sporting s shooting percentage 11.43% higher than he ever has before while hitting the net less than he ever has in his career. Read that sentence again. He's hitting the net with the least frequency of his career and scoring more than he ever has.
He's not even shooting to shoot -- which would at the very least explain why he's hitting the net with less frequency. He's on pace for about 85 shots which is below his career high of 99 and right around his average per season.
Is it possible he's picking more corners or being more selective? Of course it is. Even the worst NHL players are good enough to place their shots and Klein is not in the "worst NHL players" category anyway. That's why they're in the NHL. What's far more likely, however, is the Rangers have done a fantastic job of getting traffic in front of the net, and Klein is running a hot streak and it's a perfect storm.
Can it last all season? Maybe. Should the Rangers start putting Klein on the power play? Sure, but not because he's magically an offensive defense. Sometimes players have a hot hand and as a coach you should try to utilize it. Dan Girardi can sit for a few power play shifts and give Klein a shot, no? Worse comes to worst it doesn't work out. Whatever.
What you can't do is start banking on Klein's offense to last all year at this pace. Klein's offense has to be like getting a check in the mail. You can't assume every envelope has one, but you'll take it when it comes. I like Klein a lot, actually, but you can't assume those goals will keep piling up.
At his paycheck Klein is a more expensive third-pairing defenseman. Adding offense obviously helps, but like i said above: I'm not sure how sustainable this is. For now, just keep smiling as Klein keeps finding the back of the net. He has three game-winning goals this year along with the goal to tie the game on Saturday against Carolina. Put those in the bank, because you can't take those points away.
For now, however, hopefully Klein keeps cashing those checks.