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New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein retires after 12 seasons

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The Sports Xchange
New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein checks Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Bryan Rust along the boards. Klein has decided to retire after 12 seasons. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein checks Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Bryan Rust along the boards. Klein has decided to retire after 12 seasons. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein announced his retirement from the NHL on Friday after parts of 12 seasons in the league.

Klein, 32, played in 627 career NHL games with the Rangers and Nashville Predators, recording 154 points (38 goals, 116 assists) and 185 penalty minutes. He made his NHL debut as a member of the Predators on Dec. 3, 2005, against the Philadelphia Flyers -- 10 days shy of his 21st birthday. He made his first career NHL goal/point on Jan. 26, 2007, against the Chicago Blackhawks.

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"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," Klein said in a statement. "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."

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The 6-foot-1, 206-pound Klein was acquired by the Rangers in a trade from Nashville on Jan. 22, 2014. He skated in 224 career regular-season games with the Rangers over parts of four seasons (2013-14 to 2016-17), totaling 72 points (22 goals, 50 assists) and 75 penalty minutes.

Klein helped his team advance to the playoffs in seven of his nine full seasons in the NHL, including each of his four seasons with the Rangers. He played in 73 career NHL playoff games, registering four goals, 15 assists and 27 penalty minutes. Klein established playoff career-highs in games played (25) during the 2014 playoffs while helping the Rangers advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

The Kitchener, Ontario, native played parts of nine seasons with Nashville (2005-06 to 2013-14), recording 82 points (16 goals, 66 assists) in 403 games.

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Klein was originally selected by Nashville in the second round (37th overall) of the 2003 NHL draft.

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