Nashville defenseman Kevin Klein is on his way to Denmark after signing a lockout deal with the Herlev Eagles, according to the team website.
Herlev plays in the AL-Bank Ligaen, the top flight of Danish professional hockey — last month, the league scored its first locked-out NHLer when Ottawa forward Colin Greening agreed to join Aalborg.
Klein, 27, has spent his entire career with the Predators since being drafted 37th overall at the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
After a breakout 2011-12 campaign that saw him post a career-high 21 points (and four in 10 playoff games), Nashville rewarded him with a five-year, $14.5 million extension, signed shortly before the CBA expired on Sept. 15.
Klein figures to be a key part of the Nashville blueline moving forward, especially after the offseason departures of Ryan Suter, Francis Bouillon and Jack Hillen.
While Klein averaged a healthy 20 minutes per game last year, that number should increase significantly as the Preds will need someone to pick up power play and penalty killing time (especially Suter’s, as he averaged 2:20 on the PK and 3:41 on the PP last year.)
Klein is now the sixth Predator to sign with another club during the lockout, joining Roman Josi (Switzerland), Pekka Rinne (KHL), Patric Hornqvist (Sweden), Craig Smith (Finland) and Sergei Kostitsyn (KHL).