Which Team Will John Klingberg Land In
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John Klingberg hopes to be the next big off-season acquisition for a defenseman. After a season in which he tried multiple times to negotiate a new deal with the Dallas Stars, John Klingberg did not feel valued by team management. The right-handed defenseman is now anticipated to be traded before the March 21 trade deadline, and the Carolina Hurricanes, according to Jeff Marek of Sportsnet, could be the team to watch in all of this.
This is because they are the only squad that has been directly linked to Klingberg thus far. They approached the Stars in November regarding his availability. Carolina let Dougie Hamilton depart in free agency and attempted to replace him by committee with the additions of DeAngelo and Ethan Bear. To some extent, this has worked. Both players have shortcomings, but all things considered, they’ve performed admirably. Still, a club with championship aspirations entering the playoffs with one of them in its top four would be concerning.
Klingberg has 30 points in his last 39 postseason games, indicating he is a seasoned playoff player. For the Canes, who tend to raise every newcomer they take in, his combination of experience and upside would make it a risk worth considering.
Because the Bruins have one of the league’s poorest prospect pools, most other teams have greater assets to pull off such transactions. They’ve already traded first-round picks in 2018 and 2020, and it’s unlikely they’ll do it again this season unless the player returning isn’t a rental. Klingberg is a terrific player, but a package that includes a first-round selection, a prospect, and possibly another pick is too much for the Bruins to pay.
In Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo, Boston already has two quality defensemen on the right side of the blue line. Klingberg isn’t the best fit for this bunch as a right-handed defenseman. A left-handed defenseman should be a higher priority.
The second pairing for Toronto has been a problem all season. Jake Muzzin appears to have lost a stride and can no longer carry Justin Holl, who has been an occasional healthy scratch. In a perfect world, the Maple Leafs would add a top-four right-handed defenseman who are great on the defensive side of the puck. Still, beggars can’t be choosers, and Klingberg is by far the finest right-handed defenseman currently available.
However, the fit might still work. The Maple Leafs place a higher value on skill and puck possession than any other team in the league, and Klingberg excels in both areas. Playing in a system that emphasizes creativity may help the Swede maximize his potential. At times, he appeared to be constrained while playing under Dallas’ tight defensive scheme.
Klingberg, on the other hand, is not without faults. As good as he is offensive, his defensive statistics have been concerning over the last three seasons. Nonetheless, Klingberg’s upside will be too much for some contenders to overlook, and if he joins the right team, he might be the missing piece in a Stanley Cup puzzle.
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