5 Potential Trades and Landing Spots for Dallas Stars Defenseman John Klingberg
This season appears to be John Klingberg's last with the Dallas Stars.
The 29-year-old defenseman is an unrestricted free agent this summer and has expressed his frustrations over contract talks that have reportedly come to a standstill. That has prompted speculation that the Stars have begun shopping Klingberg before the March 21 NHL trade deadline.
Most of those blueliners are earning over $7 million annually. Klingberg is in line for a healthy raise over the $4.25 million annual cap hit he's been drawing since 2015-16.
Sportsnet's Jeff Marek reported earlier this season the blueliner is pursuing something "in the area" of eight years and between $62 million-66 million from the Stars. He also said Klingberg's agent asked general manager Jim Nill if he could accommodate a trade for his client if they couldn't reach an agreement on a new contract.
Klingberg addressed those rumors that he approached management about a trade. "That's not entirely true," he said, explaining Nill gave his camp permission to speak with other teams. "It's not like I've been going out there and asking, 'I want to get traded now,' or something like that. It's something that's been going on with the negotiations and stuff like that."
The Stars have $58 million invested in 14 players for next season, with several players also due for new contracts this summer. With $17.9 million invested in defensemen Miro Heiskanen, Esa Lindell and Ryan Suter for 2022-23, they appear reluctant to meet Klingberg's asking price.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman theorized that the Stars' position is based on the contracts they signed with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, who were at or approaching 28 when their respective long-term deals began.
The wear-and-tear they have suffered since has affected their performances, prompting Friedman to suggest the Stars don't want to see the same thing with the 30-year-old Klingberg.
A skilled, puck-moving, right-shot defenseman like Klingberg would draw plenty of interest as a rental player among playoff contenders. Here's our take on five potential trade destinations for John Klingberg and what he might fetch in return.
Feel free to weigh in with your views on this topic in the comments section below.
A COVID-19 outbreak is partially to blame for their 2-7-1 record in their past 10 games, but so too is a lack of mobile offensive depth among their defense corps.
On Dec. 27, Sportsnet's Eric Francis boldly predicted the Flames would trade for a top defenseman. He took note of head coach Darryl Sutter's frequent critiquing the lack of skilled puck-movers on his blue line. Francis speculated they could bring back former captain Mark Giordano from the Seattle Kraken or perhaps someone else if he's unavailable.
Klingberg would address the Flames' need for offensive mobility on their defense. He could skate alongside Noah Hanifin on the top pairing or with Oliver Kylington on the second pairing.
Calgary has two second-round picks of this year's draft to dangle as trade bait. If unwilling to part with a prospect, perhaps a younger player, like Dillon Dube, could be included in the deal.
The Flames are projected to have $7.5 million in cap space by the trade deadline, giving them enough room to take on the remainder of Klingberg's cap hit. They would also have more if they include Dube and his $2.3 million annual average value in the deal.
Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell has made significant midseason moves to improve his roster. He acquired Brady Skjei, Vincent Trocheck and Sami Vatanen at the deadline two seasons ago.
Perhaps he'll consider making a significant move before this year's deadline for Klingberg.
The Hurricanes lost their best puck-moving defenseman when Dougie Hamilton left for the New Jersey Devils last summer. Offseason addition Tony DeAngelo leads their blueliners with 25 points but lacks Klingberg's experience and all-around ability.
Klingberg has 17 points in 30 games despite playing for a club whose goals-per-game average (2.77) ranks 23rd overall. His production would soar with the Hurricanes, who sit sixth with a goals-per-game average of 3.40.
Klingberg could be the final piece of their Stanley Cup puzzle skating on the right side of their first or second defense pairing
The Hurricanes lack a first-round pick in this year's draft but have extra picks in the sixth and seventh rounds. The Stars could ask for one of their good young forwards such as Martin Necas or Seth Jarvis, but the Hurricanes could counter by offering up Ethan Bear and his $2 million cap hit.
Depending on the return, the cap-strapped Hurricanes could also ask the Stars to retain some salary in the deal.
The Florida Panthers have emerged as one of this season's elite teams and find themselves tied atop the overall standings with the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.
General manager Bill Zito could be in the market for another highly skilled player to help his club's efforts to win their first Cup.
According to Florida Hockey Now's George Richards, the Panthers are in "go-for-it mode" this season and expected they will be active in the trade market before deadline day.
Richards observed Zito has focused on bolstering the Panthers' blue-line corps. He believes Klingberg would look good skating on the right side of their second defense pairing, suggesting the asking price could be "a high draft pick, perhaps a player."
The Panthers have approximately $4.6 million in deadline cap space to squeeze in the remainder of Klingberg's salary. Zito lacks a first-round pick in this year's draft but still has his first-rounder in 2023 if he's inclined to move it.
He could also offer a lesser pick, perhaps bundled with a young player such as Owen Tippett or blueliner Olli Juolevi and a prospect.
Los Angeles Kings
After undergoing a roster rebuild with younger talent over the past three years, the Los Angeles Kings are in the thick of the playoff race in the Western Conference.
General manager Rob Blake could consider bringing in some help for his roster by going after Klingberg.
Blake showed his willingness to add some experienced depth last summer, acquiring forwards Phillip Danault and Viktor Arvidsson and defenseman Alexander Edler. However, he could use another skilled big-minute blueliner to share the load with 32-year-old Drew Doughty after Edler suffered a long-term injury.
Klingberg could be a postseason rental for the Kings but could also stick around longer if he proves a good fit on their defense corps. With $58.7 million invested in 13 players for 2022-23, there's enough room to re-sign him to a big raise, though Blake could be leery about offering more than five years.
With $7.8 million in projected cap space by the trade deadline, the Kings have the room to take on the remainder of Klingberg's salary. If a sign-and-trade scenario is possible, Blake could part with his first-round pick and perhaps a young forward like Gabriel Vilardi or a prospect like Brandt Clarke or Kirill Kirsanov.
The Nashville Predators weren't expected to be among this season's playoff contenders following general manager David Poile's statement in July that his club was undergoing a "competitive rebuild."
However, it turns out that rebuild proved more competitive than perhaps Poile had dared to imagine. With his club jockeying for first place in the Western Conference, he might be in the buying mood at the trade deadline.
Poile still hasn't found a suitable replacement for Ryan Ellis after trading the blueliner last summer to the Philadelphia Flyers. The right-shooting Klingberg's puck-moving skills would fill that void on the right side of their blue line, giving them more firepower from their defense corps.
Salary-cap space wouldn't be an issue for the Predators. With a cap payroll of $71 million, Poile can easily absorb Klingberg's cap hit if he chooses. They also have their first-round pick in this year's draft and an extra third-rounder to use as trade bait.
Poile might not be so keen to pursue a playoff rental if he's adhering to his rebuild policy. Nevertheless, we can't dismiss the possibility of him taking the gamble if he feels his club could make a run to the Stanley Cup Final.