Ken Klee practiced with the Coyotes for the first time Wednesday and will make his debut with Phoenix on Thursday night against Pittsburgh.
The 37-year-old defenseman says there is definitely a place for him in a locker room loaded with young players.
“I think my role, a little bit, is to help them learn how to be good pros,” Klee said. “Obviously, all of them look at me (and think) well I hope in 15 years I'm still playing like he is."
General Manager Don Maloney decided to claim Klee as the Anaheim Ducks attempted to recall him from their top affiliate. Per league rules, the Ducks will pay half of Klee’s salary for the rest of this season.
“I think he’ll help our third defensive pairing whether he plays with David Hale or Keith Yandle
,” Maloney said. “He’s a solid, experienced, veteran player that understands his position and I think he’ll give us a little more stability, and all of our research tells us he’s a really good team person and a leader in the room. We just thought with a young group we needed a little more stability back there.”
Maloney also said another reason the Coyotes claimed Klee is because the team desperately needed a right-handed shot on defense.
Meanwhile, defenseman Jonas Ahnelov
is still a week or two away from returning to the ice after suffering a broken finger during training camp. Once given medical clearance, Ahnelov likely will immediately play for the team’s top affiliate in San Antonio.