Defenseman Kevin Klein, who spent the past three-plus seasons with the New York Rangers, announced his retirement on Friday after a 12-year NHL career with the Nashville Predators and Blueshirts.
He released a statement shortly after his announcement:
"I would like to thank both the Nashville Predators and New York Rangers organizations for giving me the opportunity to fulfill my dream of playing in the NHL. Thank you to the fans of both cities for their appreciation. I couldn’t have been happier to play in front of you. I will miss all the friends I’ve made along the way, from the staff to the guys I’ve played with.
I’d like to thank my parents for everything they have done for me and for their constant love and support. Most importantly, my wife Jodi and our boys, Joseph and Oliver, who have sacrificed the most over the years. I am looking forward to many great years with my extended family.
Again, Thank You."
The Rangers traded for Klein during the 2013-14 season, sending Michael Del Zotto to Nashville, where he quickly became an important member of New York's blue line.
Klein appeared in 224 regular season and 45 playoff games with the Rangers, including 25 during the team's run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2014.
While he isn't known for his offensive prowess, Klein is actually the second Rangers defenseman since 1986-87 to record nine even-strength goals in two separate seasons. The other is Rangers legend, Brian Leetch.
Klein's departure continues to bring about changes within the Rangers' defense. The team already bought out the contract of long-time defensive anchor Dan Girardi while signing big-name free-agent Kevin Shattenkirk.