Life after the Caps: Ken Klee

Life after the Caps: Ken Klee
August 19, 2014, 4:00 pm
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(AP Photo/Bill Janscha)

Have you ever caught yourself thinking of an old Caps' favorite and wondered, what ever happened to that guy?

Hockey, like all professional sports, is a tough business. Team legends can spend many years in one city but find themselves looking for a new team near the end of their careers. Other players are brought in to bolster the squad but are let go through free agency or trades just as they began to establish themselves in Washington.

The hockey world, however, does not end when players leave D.C. Here’s a look at some former Caps and how they fared after their time in Washington.

Ken Klee

Played for Caps: 1994 - 2003

Stats with Caps: 570 GP, 43 G, 68 A, 111 Pts, Postseason: 34 GP, 1 G, 2 A, 3 Pts 

Klee became a familiar face for Caps fans with nine solid years with the team. He was drafted by the Caps in 1990 and enjoyed a 14-year NHL career.

The Indiana native was a consistent force on the blue line for the Caps, but with the NHL lockout on the horizon and the team headed for some difficult decisions, Klee was not re-signed after the 2002-03 season.

Klee signed with Toronto and showed that at 32-years-old, he still had plenty to contribute at the NHL level. Klee enjoyed the best offensive year of his career, scoring four goals and 25 assists; nine points more than his previous career-high.

The Maple Leafs traded Klee to New Jersey ahead of the trade deadline, but he suited up for the Devils only 18 games. He signed with Colorado in the offseason and became an anchor for the defense, playing 81 games and averaging over 20 minutes a game. He led the team in +/-  for the season with a  plus 18.

The strong season allowed Klee to sign a new two-year deal with Atlanta, but after one season the Thrashers traded Klee to Anaheim in a four-player deal that brought Mathieu Schneider to Atlanta.

Klee began the 2008-09 season with the Ducks, but was claimed off re-entry waivers by Phoenix and played 68 games with the Coyotes and, despite being 37-years-old, still recorded 11 points that season. Klee became a free agent again, but announced his retirement that summer after 14 seasons.

Klee left hockey to become a full-time dad and hockey coach for his three sons. 

Not a flashy goal-scorer or a complete lock-down defenseman, Klee’s consistency and longevity became his calling cards. His 934 career regular season games actually earned him a spot on the Hall of Fame Ballot in 2012.

Not bad for a ninth-round draft pick.

[RELATED: Capitals' Top 25 impact players for 2014-15: No. 4: Braden Holtby]