Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Kevin Klein Jersey Card

In case you missed it, former NHLer Kevin Klein announced his retirement in March, after two seasons as the alternate captain of the Zurich ZSC Lions of the Swiss league, which itself followed a retirement from the NHL's New York Rangers, a move that was decried at the time as being cap circumvention, as he was due $2.9M in the final year of his contract, which would have counted as "dead money" against the cap due to his supposed back spasms but would have stopped him from playing elsewhere, whereas by retiring, his entire cap hit was off the Rangers' books and he was free to pursue a career in Europe.

He did pretty well in Switzerland, too, with 22- and 24-point seasons (in 45 and 47 games, respectively) from the blue line. In his first year in Zurich, the team won the Swiss championship, but failed to make the playoffs in 2018-19.

Injuries were a constant in Klein's career; he has never suited up for a full 82 games, finishing with 81 twice (both times with the Nashville Predators), then 77, then 69. He had his best seasons in New York, however, hitting the 26-point mark twice in a row, in 2014-15 and 2015-16; his next best season was a 21-point output in 2011-12.

In his prime, he was fine playing 18 to 20 minutes on a second or third defensive pairing.

Here he is wearing the Rangers' beautiful white 2014 Stadium Series uniform on card #SS-KK from SP Authentic's 2014-15 SP Game-Used Edition, by Upper Deck:
It features a fairly big matching white game-worn jersey swatch.

The Rangers have iconic jerseys, and I like the care that goes into making original yet classic-feeling new ones for the outdoor cash grabs games, be they Winter Classics or Stadium Series.

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