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BREAKING: Kevin Klein OUT 2-3 weeks, Dylan McIlrath to be an everyday player

Bobby Bevilacqua

kevin klein full body profile 10-25

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

There’s an infestation of injury bugs in the New York Ranger locker room.

Just three games after learning that Derek Stepan would miss upward of a month due to broken ribs, the Rangers announced that Kevin Klein will miss the next 2-3 weeks with an oblique strain.

In last night’s game against the Hurricanes, Klein skated over to the bench, hunched over in the first period. He headed to the locker room and never returned. There was no contact that led to the injury.

This is a major loss for Vigneault. After a breakout season last year, Klein began the season strong, and he has been the best, most consistent Ranger defenseman this year. With Girardi, Staal and McDonagh struggling, Klein had been picking up the slack.

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The team won’t call anyone up right away, and will instead turn to Dylan McIlrath to take over as a starter for the next few weeks. McIlrath has been very good this year, bringing a physical brand of hockey to the ice, as well as doing an excellent job of limiting high-percentage shot attempts.

McIlrath deserved a chance to prove that he belongs as a starter, and he’ll get it now. For Vigneault, he can’t play him for just 13 minutes a night and throw out Girardi/Staal for 25 minutes a night. That’s helping nobody. Play the kid and let him thrive in his new role.

As far as call ups, the team will not bring anyone up out from Hartford before the back-to-back series against the Islanders and Avalanche. But I fully expect moves to be made before the three game, western Canadian road trip begins on December 9th.

For the forwards, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tanner Glass gets called up. AV likes him, will certainly use him, and knows what he brings. But the team would be better off bringing up Ryan Bourque, who played well in a few cameo appearances at the end of last season. Brian Gibbons wouldn’t be a bad option either. Megna was just sent back to Hartford so I don’t think they’ll call him up again.

For defense, Chris Summers is who I expect to get called up. Vigneault said that McIlrath will get every chance to play each game that Klein is out, so the defensive reinforcement will probably be a backup.

I don’t think Brady Skjei will get the call because sitting in the press box does him no good. Raphael Diaz is injured so he is not an option either.

The Rangers take on the Islanders at the Barclays Center tomorrow night.

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Posted on December 1, 2015, in Rangers Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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