The Toronto Maple Leafs sit near the top of the NHL standings, and will likely look to make a move ahead of the upcoming NHL Trade Deadline.
There are a lot of rumours swirling about the Dallas Stars shopping defenseman, John Klingberg, and the Toronto Maple Leafs being a potential taker.
Klingberg is a 27 year-old, 6’3, 190 lbs, top four defenseman with a right-handed shot and eight seasons of NHL experience including a trip to the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals with the Dallas Stars. He has a goal and 22 points in 34 games this season and had seven goals and 36 points in 53 games last season. (stats from Hockey-Reference.com)
The Dallas Stars currently sit in fifth place in the Central Division and ninth place in the Western Conference. With 44 points, they are tied with the Calgary Flames who currently hold the final wild card spot in the Western Conference, but Calgary has two games in hand.
John Klingberg will be an unrestricted free agent unless he signs an extension before July 1st, 2022. His current salary is $4.25 million per season and it’s expect that he’ll earn a fair raise, however, Klingberg has made statements to the media expressing his disappoint regarding his contract negotiation with the Stars thus far.
The Toronto Maple Leafs Should NOT Trade for John Klingberg …Yet
It seems the Toronto Maple Leafs biggest need right now is for another top four defenseman. They could use someone with size, a reasonable contract and a right-handed shot would be great too. John Klingberg is all of those things, so why shouldn’t the Leafs immediately pull the trigger on a trade for Klingberg?
For one, the Dallas Stars may be sitting out of a playoff spot right now, but that doesn’t mean they will necessarily be sellers at the trade deadline. They’re looking to make a run for a playoff spot right now and may want to hold on to Klingberg and even add to their roster to help their Stanley Cup chances.
The Dallas Stars found themselves in the same situation last season. They failed to make the playoffs, but were only four points shy. They held onto their players with expiring contracts like Jamie Oleksiak, another player rumoured to be involved with a trade to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Dallas’ situation may change if they’ve dropped out of playoff contention closer to the trade deadline, but in the meantime, the Toronto Maple Leafs could be looking at other options.
The other reason the Leafs shouldn’t trade for John Klingberg yet is because there are other players out there that may better suit their needs. Klingberg is a puck moving defenseman and a powerplay specialist \, but he is weak defensively. The best fit for the Toronto Maple Leafs would be a defenseman with stronger defensive skills.
John Klingberg has a large frame, but he doesn’t use it defensively like he could. This season, Klingberg only has 21 hits and 35 blocked shots. He would be seventh in hits and fifth in blocked shots among Toronto Maple Leafs defensemen. Klingberg also has 33 giveaways this season (19th most among NHL defensemen), a stat the Toronto Maple Leafs really need to improve on.
Would adding John Klingberg help the Toronto Maple Leafs? Perhaps, but there are many better options out there that would better suit their needs. Maybe Toronto should consider him if the Dallas Stars turn into deadline sellers and more defensive defensemen like Justin Braun and Ilya Lyubushkin become unavailable. …or maybe not.