Kevin Klein was drafted into the OHL by the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors in the second round (22nd overall) of the 2000 OHL draft. Klein played for the Majors that season and had 19 points (three goals, 16 assists) in 58 games played. The next season, Klein’s role increased on the Majors as a second-year player and he increased his point total that year to 27.
In his third year with the Majors, Klein was the leading defenseman on the team. He was on the team’s top defensive pairing and played on the team’s top penalty-killing line as well as the team’s second power play unit. Klein was the Majors’ best defenseman last year and played against opposing team’s top forwards. He was the Majors’ nominee for the OHL’s Max Kaminsky Trophy last season which is awarded to the Most Outstanding Defenseman as selected by OHL general managers. Last season Klein finished 14th in scoring for defensemen in the OHL with 44 points in 67 games. He helped lead the Majors to the OHL’s Eastern Conference Finals last season. The Majors lost to the Ottawa 67’s four games to three.
Klein was drafted by the Nashville Predators in the second round, 37th overall, of the 2003 NHL Draft.
Klein had a very successful rookie season in the AHL. After an early season demotion to Rockford of the UHL where he played 3 games recording a point in each (2 goals, 1 assists), Klein was recalled when veteran defenseman Mike Matteuci retired. Klein played extremely well in a defensive role paired almost solely with Greg Zanon on the Admirals second defensive pairing. Klein received a lot of playing time recording 16 points (4 goals, 12 assists) for Milwaukee. Klein played an extremely disciplined game only taking 22 penalty minutes. Since being drafted, Klein has added 13 pounds. He finished the season with a +9 plus/minus rating.
2007-08: Klein saw limited ice time this season due to an injury. In the action he was able to see, he played a solid defensive role. In 13 games with Nashville, he recorded two helpers and recorded three more in nine games with Milwaukee (AHL).
Kevin Klein is a smooth skater, a two-way puck-moving defenseman and is a very accurate passer when coming out of his own zone. Has good speed and acceleration. Has great vision and can consistently find the open man. He likes to lead the rush. A great shot-blocker, he will sacrifice his body fearlessly to block shots. He’s strong defensively in front of his net and along the boards. Although not overly physical, has a tendency to go for the big hip check when an opponent’s head is down. Good shot from the point on the power play, tries for accuracy to get the puck on the net. Good offensive instincts.
Klein is great at both ends of the ice. Offensively he can lead the rush and pass to a forward or can take it all the way to the opponent’s net. He is very aware defensively and clears the net effectively at the OHL level. He doesn’t take undisciplined penalties.
One of the main concerns about Klein’s game is a lack of physical play. Heading into last season, scouts wanted to see a more physical side to his game. Klein did play more physically, but still needs to step up his physical play along the boards. Another thing he will have to work on is carrying the puck across his blue line. For the most part he’s a good puck-carrying defenseman, however he sometimes carries the puck a little too carelessly and gets pick-pocketed because of it.
Klein was dealt by the Nashville Predators to the New York Rangers in exchange for Michael Del Zotto in January of 2014.