Preds not done getting house in order, extend Kevin Klein for five years…

Kevin Klein shot2

We thought the Nashville Predators were finished getting their house in order before the NHL locks out it’s players at midnight Eastern tonight.

We were wrong.

Just two days after re-signing restricted free agent Jon Blum and a day after extending forward Gabriel Bourque for two more years, General Manager David Poile and the Predators announced that they’ve locked up blueliner Kevin Klein for five more years.

His deal will pay him $3 million a year for the first three seasons and then $2.75 million per year in the final two.

It’s a great reward for the much-maligned defenseman. Klein, 27, is in the prime of his career and is a steady force on the Nashville blueline. He’s penciled in to skate alongside veteran Scott Hannan this year and, while they won’t wow anyone with their offensive numbers, they can be counted on in almost every situation.

The Kitchener, Ontario native is probably most beloved for sticking up for his teammates during the Western Conference Quarterfinal in 2011. The most memorable moment coming when Anaheim forward Corey Perry tried to take liberties after Pekka Rinne made a routine stop late in the third period of Game 1.

The official press release is below.

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Nashville, Tenn. (September 15, 2012) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed defenseman Kevin Klein to a five-year, $14.5 million contract that will pay him $3 million in 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16, and $2.75 million in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

“My family and I love Nashville; the fans, my teammates and the city have been very good to us,” Klein said. “I am excited about being a part of this organization and community well into the future.”

“Kevin Klein embodies the Predators way – the culture and belief system we have worked hard to create,” Poile said. “He was drafted and developed by the team, has become an integral part of our defensive corps, and is committed to being a part of our long-term success.”

Klein, 27 (12/13/84), recorded career highs in points (4g-17a-21pts) and assists, while tying a career high in goals in 2011-12. He also tied for 24th in the League, and led the Predators, in blocked shots (151); ranked third on the team in average ice time (19:56) and was one of just two NHL defensemen to play more than 35 games and register four or fewer penalty minutes during his fourth full NHL campaign a season ago. The Kitchener, Ont., native has 65 points (12g-53a) in 309 career regular-season games and nine points (3g-6a) in 28 postseason contests, which included four points (2g-2a) during the 2012 postseason, tying him for first among club blueliners.

Nashville’s third selection, 37th overall (second round), in the 2003 Entry Draft held at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, Klein captured a silver medal with Team Canada at the 2004 World Junior Championships in addition to winning the 2004 Ontario Hockey League championship as a member of the Guelph Storm.