During the intermission of the Pittsburgh Penguins – Montreal Canadiens game on the 27th of November, TSN insider Jeff Marek reported that the Carolina Hurricanes have been in contact with the Dallas Stars regarding the availability of Swedish defenseman John Klingberg. This is a particularly interesting development, and it screams of a team that wants to make a deep run in this post-season.
Klingberg’s defensive play has deteriorated over the years and the 29-year-old blueliner isn’t what he used to be in his own zone, but he is unquestionably an offensive genius. While Klingberg would be a major addition to the Canes blueline, is he needed? And is it worth trying to add a rental like the large Swede at the expense of the future? There’s a lot of unknowns heading into this situation.
Klingberg is not much of a 5-on-5 expert. In this sense, he will need a little bit of hand-holding and a little walking through the minutes. Where Klingberg will make his money is on the powerplay. He sits as one of the best powerplay QB’s in the National Hockey League and can put a puck on a dime. Considering he doesn’t make an extortionate amount of money, this would be very desirable for the Canes.
My first thought when I saw this news was “Well, why? Is something wrong with the health of Ethan Bear, or has something happened off the ice with Tony DeAngelo? Has Brett Pesce hurt himself again?” and then I took a deep breath and did some math over on CapFriendly. I do not give them enough credit, that website is worth its weight in gold.
To fit him under the cap, oh boy would it be tight. If Dallas retains half of his deal ($2.125 million), Klingberg would fit under the cap. Breathing would not be possible, but the Canes would be under the cap with a 23 man roster. It would ruin them accruing cap space for the trade deadline, but they’re already using LTIR cap space so they’re not getting any extra cap anyway.
If he is added to this Canes squad (assuming that there are no losses from the main roster), I’d have to assume Klingberg slots in on the top pairing. He can eat major minutes, but he can be turned from time to time and make stupid pinches. Since Carolina has the luxury of employing Jaccob Slavin, this shouldn’t be a massive issue since he’s had far more defensively incompetent partners in his NHL career.
It would take probably a combination of prospects to get Klingberg. I’d imagine it would mean parting with prospects like Noel Gunler, or Zion Nybeck to get the Stars to consider moving him. While Carolina’s prospect pool is deep, trading out prospects for rentals isn’t exactly something Carolina has made a habit of doing during the time of the organizations’ existence in the City of Oaks.
If you ask me if John Klingberg is worth that package to get him, I don’t know what I’d answer. He’s not worth the $7-8 million extension he is demanding, so it’s very likely that he tests the market. If this is a trade that ends up occurring, this Carolina team will need to go deep this year. Making an investment in this squad means expectations. Another underwhelming shallow playoff run with the acquisition of a rental like this will raise a lot of red flags moving forward.