The apparent asking price is extremely high for defensemen at this point in the season and as teams start to make calls well ahead of the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline. With rumors the San Jose Sharks might be asking for as much as three first-round picks for Erik Karlsson, or that the price on Jakob Chychrun remains the equivalent of two firsts and a prospect, it’s no wonder that trades haven’t taken place yet.
That makes the rumors surrounding a player like John Klingberg all that more intriguing.
According to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, the plan by the Anaheim Ducks is to shop and eventually trade defenseman John Klingberg. In the past, Klingberg was considered a top-flight offensive d-man, but he went unsigned this summer until the Ducks gave him a one-year, $7 million deal and he’s not lived up to expectations, even if it was projected the Ducks wouldn’t be very good (which they aren’t.) Klingberg has had a down season and Ducks analyst Dan Wood recently noted, “He has played better of late, but he hasn’t had a good first half. The Ducks expected more and so did he. He has struggled defensively, but he also hasn’t done what was expected offensively,”
So, when LeBrun suggests that Klingberg might be one of the few defensemen out there that won’t fetch a first-round pick on the trade market, does that make sense? Or, does that make for an opportunity?
LeBrun explains, “The price on the pending UFA defenseman starts with a first-round pick, or at least that’s what the Ducks have told some clubs. Never say never, but given Klingberg’s struggles so far this season, I just don’t see a team jumping up to pay that price.” If they can’t get that price, will they move the player for less than that? The way things have gone, he seems unlikely to stay as a free agent. The Ducks aren’t going to make the playoffs, so letting Klingberg walk seems silly.
Could a team looking for a formerly-gifted offensive weapon see an opportunity to get Klingberg at 50% retained salary for a second-rounder? One would think so and even if he comes in just to run a power play, there’s some value there.
Next: Sharks Receiving Trade Calls For Veteran D Erik Karlsson
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