The tall defenceman out of the USNTDP will be playing with North Dakota next season (shocker)
Drafted with the 44th overall pick after the Senators moved up in the draft, Kleven brings an intense, physical style to his game that the scouting staff prioritized. Kleven was a player I was worried about the Senators drafting and also surrendering two draft picks didn’t help. He doesn’t have a ton of upside but could turn into a solid player nevertheless.
Date of Birth: January 10th, 2002, Age 18
Hometown: Fargo, North Dakota
H: 6’4″ W: 201 lbs
The North Dakota native grew up playing hockey in the area and will resume play there after a two-year stint with the USNTDP.
Last season Kleven put up 12 points in 45 USDP games and provided 2 helpers in 17 games in the USHL with the USNTDP Juniors. Not known for his offensive game, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise, he’s never going to produce offence at even an average level, a classic stay-at-home defenceman.
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A smooth skater for his size, Kleven moves really well and this allows him to be such a strong defender. With skating and intimidating size, all the tools are there, but it’s all for not if he can’t put it all together.
Kleven is a pain to play against, opposing forwards have to keep their head up whenever the physical defenceman is on the ice, or they risk a big hit. Below is one of Kleven’s biggest hits from a U18 tournament versus the Russians:
Kleven is also known for having a heavy shot and that is Kleven’s only redeeming quality on the offensive side of the ice. Possessing the size, speed and shot to become an NHL player, his processing and offensive abilities carry such low ceilings it’s tough to get too excited about Kleven.
What They’re Saying
A controversial pick in the 2nd round, analysts and Senators fans had some things to say on Kleven:
Tyler Kleven D – Round 2, 44th Overall
Older draftee dmen with next to no production. This is as bad a bet as you can make at the draft table. Of only the 2nd rounders that fit this bill, only 20% of them have made it, all were/are bottom sixers.
— Byron Bader (@ByronMBader) October 15, 2020
Yet again, lack of offensive production makes pundits very standoffish about Kleven.
Tyler Kleven was a complete do not draft for me, he can’t move the puck AT ALL.. He’s really bad…
— Tobias Pettersson (@ManUtdTobbe) October 7, 2020
Eeeeeeek. Not exactly endorsing opinions on Kleven, but there were some people who had some better comments on the Senators 2nd round pick.
“His massive frame and above-average skating are what sold him to the Senators’ front office and they will hope that their player development staff can help develop the rest of his game”
Dobber Prospects could see why the Senators were high on Kleven, big and mobile defenceman are tough to find, if the Senators can develop him properly he could be an effective blueliner.
Kleven will suit up alongside Senators prospects Jake Sanderson, Jacob Bernard-Docker and Shane Pinto when North Dakota starts their season. The NCHC (National Collegiate Hockey Conference) has put together a return to play plan, starting on December 1st, all 8 teams in the conference will play in a “pod” or bubble in Nebraska and will play 10 games. After that “pod” is finished, teams will complete the rest of their 26 game regular season.
If Kleven can be an everyday player for North Dakota the season will be a success.