Is Kevin Klein “Retiring” to Europe?

This afternoon, Larry Brooks dropped a bomb on restless Rangers fans with the news that Kevin Klein is unlikely to return to MSG for the 2017-18 season. Nothing is official, but according to Brooks’ sources, goodbyes were said at a party this past weekend. All that remains is confirmation of Klein’s plans.

From the article:

Klein, a throwback, stay-at-home, physical defender who added a surprising degree of offensive production in his best days on Broadway, partnered primarily with Marc Staal or Keith Yandle after coming to New York from Nashville midway through 2013-14 in exchange for Michael Del Zotto in one of then-general manager Glen Sather’s best trades.

But the nine-year veteran struggled through the latter half of 2015-16 and then never was himself last season, getting into only 60 games throughout which his play was compromised. Klein missed the first three games with back problems that would later sideline him for 16 games from Feb. 23 though March 25.

Though he did return late in the season to play five of the final six matches, it was too late for Klein to regain his effectiveness and earn a spot in the postseason lineup. He did replace Nick Holden for Game 3 of the first round against the Canadiens, but struggled and then watched the remainder of the tournament in street clothes.

While most would agree that Klein’s best NHL years were behind him, not many players would voluntarily walk away from a year’s salary without at least asking for a trade. Suddenly, one can’t help wondering what the Blueshirts might do with the three million dollars they just found between the cushions on the couch ...