The Toronto Maple Leafs are in the market for a right-handed defenseman at the NHL Trade Deadline, and that player should be John Klingberg.
When you look at the Toronto Maple Leafs roster, it’s near-perfect. The team’s forward group has a wonderful combination of skill that can score and defend, while they have a number-one goaltender in Jack Campbell.
However, the one weakness that the team has right now is their defense. They have some good pieces like Morgan Rielly, T.J. Brodie, Jake Muzzin and Rasmus Sandin, but there’s no secret that they’d like to upgrade Travis Dermott and Justin Holl.
That defensive group can win you a lot of regular season games, but it’s not the core you want to go into the playoffs with.
The one defenseman that everyone is talking about right now is John Klingberg. He’s a pending UFA, only makes $4.25M, is 6-foot-3, 190 pounds and has five seasons of 40-plus points (stats: hockeydb.com)
He was a pivotal piece in Dallas’ run to the Stanley Cup Finals during the 2019-20 season, scoring 21 points in 26 games, while averaging 23:10 minutes per night.
Toronto Maple Leafs Should Trade for John Klingberg
I’m fine with the idea of trading for a rental player. Some people find it tough to give up assets for a player who will only be with the team on a short-term basis, but those moves are necessary to give your team the best chance at winning a Stanley Cup.
At $4.25M, Klingberg’s contract is a good price and he would be an upgrade on Justin Holl for the stretch run.
When you think of the Toronto Maple Leafs, you think offense first, but in reality, their defense has been better than their offense. The team is 11th in Goals For thus far, but are third in Goals Against. Obviously, a lot of their defensive struggles can be blinded by Jack Campbell’s stellar play, but overall, the team’s defense has been very good.
The team fell apart in their 5-4 loss against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night, but that’s a rare thing to see. Maybe the altitude was the reason why the team ran out of gas, or maybe it was because they were playing one of the best teams in the NHL, but that performance isn’t typical of the Leafs this year.
Toronto needs a little help scoring and although upgrading the left-wing position would be the number-one priority, points from the blue-line would also help.
Besides Morgan Rielly, offensive production from Toronto’s blue-line is non-existent. Three games ago, T.J. Brodie had zero goals on the season before scoring in three straight games, while Jake Muzzin, Timothy Liljegren, Travis Dermott and Rasmus Sandin have all combined for three goals this year.
As a double-digit goal-scorer four times in his NHL career, Klingberg could really help produce goals and set-up goals on the power-play. His 344 points in 505 regular season games and 34 points in 52 career playoff games are no fluke, as he’s been known to produce points his entire career (stats: hockeydb.com)
Klingberg is a clear top-four defenseman and would be a great addition to the Leafs.