The moment the Dallas Stars signed John Klinberg to a seven-year extension in April 2015, they likely got a huge deal. He just finished an excellent debut season, leading all rookie defensive players in 40 points despite only appearing in 65 games. The Stars offered him long-term stability and a big raise, which requires using a small sample size to predict his career, but if he can sustain anything close to his rookie season output, he’ll soon be worth more than the $425 in contract million dollars AAV.
This is exactly what happened. For the first 6.5 seasons of his contract, Klimberg has been one of the better pure hockey blue liners in the NHL. From his second season in 2015-16 to the present, he ranks ninth among defensive players in scoring, 10th Ranked ninth in average strength points and strength competition points. He finished sixth in the Norris Trophy voting twice. In every season of his career, the Stars have had a significant shot advantage when Klimberg is on the floor. Of course, his ball possession is affected by his offense rather than defense, but that’s okay. We now know who he is: more of a one-way player, but one-way is very effective.
We also know he’s going to get a huge raise on his next contract. He’s a UFA this summer, and there’s a good chance he’ll double his AAV and flirt with $8 million per season on his next contract. He plays an important role as a right-handed defensive player, a large number of stakeholders will push his price up, and since his AAV performance throughout his prime is well below his value, he needs to earn a “lifetime” Unforgettable” money compensation. He’ll be 30 when his next deal starts, and thus qualify for the classic “get paid for what he does, not what he’s going to do” trap, but interested teams won’t care. They’ll pay him for what he can bring in the short term and can worry about his downfall later on. This is the league-wide model. Here’s why the San Jose Sharks went to great lengths to keep Eric Carlson and why the New Jersey Devils went all out to pick Dougie Hamilton and more.
After the season, however, the Stars don’t appear to be shelling out big bucks for Klingberg. They’ve allocated $22.46 million in cap space for next season, with some key RFA re-signing left winger Jason Robertson, right wing Dennis Gulyanov and goalie Jake Ottinger. Even though Gulyanov and Ottinger went the bridge contract route, Robertson’s stellar start to his career has put him in long-term contract territory, if that’s what he wants. Re-signing Klingberg for $8 million, either give or take, would seriously squeeze GM Jim Nill. Giving grizzled Ryan Suter a multi-year deal instead of a one-year deal last summer may have driven Klingberg out of town.
Klingberg seemed to understand his fate. Speaking to the media last week about stalled extension talks, “As a player, I don’t feel appreciated,” he said. It does sound like someone is going to test the market this summer. Typically, there’s no rush to trade him now, as the Stars can wait until the deadline looms. But the stakes have been raised since then, According to some reports from last week, he asked for a deal. Keeping him around risks poisoning locker room culture if his relationship with the team is irreparably broken. say it one more time, He made a public rumour Late last week, it was hinted that he still wants to be a star, but thinks that’s unlikely to happen after this season.
So what does Neil do? Despite maintaining a .538 percentage point, Dallas is sixth in the super-competitive Central Division. It doesn’t currently have a wild-card spot, but pretty much every team in the Western Conference is playing. The playoffs are still very important. Does that mean the Stars have to use Klingberg as a “free hire” for stretches? Or should they sell him now because they seem almost guaranteed to lose him this offseason and he doesn’t want to play for them anymore?
Which teams are best suited to immediately trade Klingberg? Five potential destinations stand out.
I mentioned the Bears As a landing spot for Jakob Chychrun Earlier this week, as they needed more help on the left side of the D team than on the right side, Chychrun, who is 23 years old and signed for four seasons at an exorbitant price, will cost him significantly more than Klingberg. many. The Bears may not have enough prospect depth to meet any price in Chychrun, but can afford Klingberg. The impending return of Tuukka Rask and Patrice Bergeron as free agents has given the season a “last ride” feel. Klingberg could be a great way to elevate the team’s hockey game. Charlie McAvoy has obviously brought a lot on the right flank, but he’s such an all-around power that he’s been asked to do more than just score.
Los Angeles Kings
When the Kings traded right wing Victor Arvidson and signed center Philippe Danott and guard Alexander Edler this offseason, they sent a message that they want to take a big step forward and transition from Reconstructors to fringe competitors. So far so good, the Kings are currently third in the Pacific Division. They succeeded by virtue of their defense and 5-on-5 offense. What they’ve lacked so far is fine-grained finishing skills. They have one of the worst 5-on-5 team shooting percentages in the NHL, and their power hits 25thAssuming coach Todd McLellan can find a way for Klingberg to coexist with right wing Drew Doughty, Klingberg can increase power play and help the Los Angeles shooter get better scoring positions in 5-on-5 action.
With such a deep farm system, the Kings also have plenty of secondary prospects they could pack for Klingberg.
Wild has immediate access to Klingberg. They’ve found their feet in the vicious central, but they’ve been ravaged by injuries and COVID-19. Half of their starting D-corps are currently off the lineup: Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin and Alex Goligoski. Spurgeon still has lower body injuries on a weekly basis. Klingberg could be welcome in the short term, and for the rest of the season, it could help a powerhouse that struggles in 2021-22.
The Predators were supposed to be sellers last season. Instead, they kept winning until they made the playoffs and eventually re-signed defenseman Matthias Ekholm. Pending UFA left wing Philip Forsberg is now the subject of trade speculation, but, heck, Nashville is 24-12-2. Might GM David Poile adopt a buyer mentality? Klingberg could replace the right-handed hockey move they lost when they traded Ryan Ellis to the Philadelphia Flyers last summer.
new york islanders
When the archipelago currently holds 0.483 percentage points and sits sixteen Pointing out a playoff spot? Well, they’ve played the fewest of any NHL team, they have more home games left than any other team, they’re 6-2-2 in their last 10 games, and they’re carrying the Stanley Cup The desire came into the season. Their No. 1 right-handed defender, Ryan Prolock, has not played for two months due to a lower extremity ailment. When healthy, he’s a vital all-around horse for the Islands, but his superb finishing hasn’t translated into the power he deserves on paper. Kleinberg could give the Island an offense that really doesn’t exist right now, even though Noah Dobson is in the midst of a breakout season.
If the archipelago continues to improve as the schedule normalizes, don’t be surprised if general manager Lou Lamoriello ventures into trade waters. He has been a mid-season upgrader throughout his storied career.