Not that the Vancouver Canucks wanted him or could afford him anyway, but the right defencemen market took a short-term hit Friday with former Dallas Stars stalwart John Klingberg signing with the Anaheim Ducks. A rival Pacific Division D-corps just got stronger.
$7-million for one season would not be a formula the Vancouver Canucks were interested in. In fact, there was are hearty debate about Klingberg’s overall value and his hypothetical decline in performance the last couple of seasons in particular. It may be why it took so long for the unrestricted free agent to find an actual dance partner. The concerns would be in his own end, where he committed more than half of his whopping 86 giveaways last season, not so much for a lack of offensive contributions.
Complain about a mild decline all you want, this is a player who tossed up six goals and 41 assists last season with a career-high-tying chippy factor of 34 penalty minutes.
Sure that’s down from his offensive peak of eight goals and 59 assists in 2017-’18, but subsequent years of 45, 32, 36 and then those 47 points aren’t too shabby, especially for a mobile minute-muncher who plays in all situations. The analytics crowd will discover he still has positive ‘shots for’ team possession numbers and a happy ‘expected goals’ ratio.
It would appear the trepidation came down to budgeting for teams in the current ‘flat salary cap’ environment.
Klingberg turns 30-years-of-age in two weeks. His one year pact comes with a full no-trade clause through New Year’s and then a 10-team no-trade list for the remainder of the season.
The Vancouver Canucks would obviously need to move some money along down the road if they were to have an interest in bringing him on board at some point. Would a four-year deal for a player of this calibre and age be palatable? Without throwing out hypothetical combinations of players the Vancouver Canucks would need to move to make this conceivable, know that having the 6-foot-3-inch Swede in the top-four on the right side would be a good thing, and a $30-million D-corps payroll is not at all out of the ordinary for teams that contend for Cups.