Eyeing a long-term deal, Ducks’ Klingberg enters critical season with new team

Sometimes the stars don’t align perfectly. Sometimes you can’t get all your ducks in a row.

After signing a one-year deal with the Anaheim Ducks, former Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg is looking for long-term security but understands he can’t get too far ahead of himself.

“I want to say it’s probably part of the plan, but I’m not going to look too far ahead,” Klingberg said Monday. “I want to be long term at the end of the day. Right now, I’m signing (for) a year in Anaheim and we’re going to have to take it from here. I can’t focus on what’s going to happen.” be there in a year. It has to be this season.”

While the team did not disclose the exact financial terms of the deal, although the contract is reported to be worth $7 million, the duration was. Ideally, Klingberg would have liked to see a couple more years added to that total.

Considering Tampa Bay Lightning defensemen Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak re-signed to eight years at $68 million and eight years at $41.6 million, respectively, it’s understandable why a Klingberg State blueliner may be looking. for more than a year.

But, the soon-to-be 30-year-old understands that he, along with his new team, will need to have a solid season to get a longer contract.

“Obviously I will need to have a good season and the team will need to have a good season as well. If the team is successful, I will be successful,” he said. “I also had a great conversation with (Ducks general manager) Pat Verbeek, about where we think the team is going to be in the future. We’re going to take this year to start and see where we’re at.”

Klingberg is coming off a 2021-22 campaign in which he scored six goals and recorded 41 assists with a career-worst minus-28 rating.

After posting a 2021-22 regular season record of 46-30-6, the Stars claimed a wild card spot and faced the Calgary Flames in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, eventually falling to a close and low score of seven. -series of games.

The defenseman clashed several times with then-Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk during the series, dropping the gloves more than once and providing an entertaining sound after the game following a fight with fellow Swedish defenseman Rasmus Andersson.

The Ducks, meanwhile, went 31-37-14 in 2021-22, allowing 271 goals against, ranking 22nd in the league.

The native of Gothenburg, Sweden could prove his worth at the back by limiting the main scoring opportunities to potentially reduce the total goals allowed. Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins believes Klingberg’s versatility could prove vital to the team’s improvement for next year.

“Where we were with our defense right now, adding John is huge for us,” Eakins said. “He is a complete player, he has great experience in all aspects of the game.”

The Ducks ranked 14th in the NHL last season with the men’s lead (21.9 percent) after ranking last in 2020-21 (8.9 percent).

Aside from his defensive skills, Klingberg’s prowess on the power play caught the attention of Anaheim’s bench chief.

“I think everyone was quick to see his ability to run a power play and a lot of teams have a shortage of right-handed defenders, and he brings that to the table as well,” Eakin said. “We think we have a really strong individual, someone who will really fit in well with our group and help us a lot on our back end.”

The former fifth-round pick was arguably the best defenseman available when free agency opened on July 13, but he remained on the market until he and the Ducks reached a deal Friday.

Although it became clear that he was not going to get the coveted long-term deal, Klingberg adjusted to market conditions and is confident he made the right decision.

“For me individually, with what I’ve said about where I think the Ducks are as a team, where the organization is and what they’re trying to build going forward, I think it’s exciting for me to start with a year and see where things go. [and] moving forward,” Klingberg said. “But that’s the kind of thought process I was going through, when we reduced teams, that it was going to be a year. Going into free agency, we were looking for the long haul. That is not a secret. The market is what it is now, and we had to change the tactics a bit. At the end of the day, I realized that it’s going to be a short-term deal here moving into the future.

“Obviously with the COVID world and the flat cap and all that, it’s a little bit different than it has been in previous years. More and more over these 2-3 weeks, I understood that the long term and the fit, I was looking for because he probably wasn’t there this year so we cut him down to a shorter term deal some teams were interested in me and I was interested in them but at the end of the day I cut him down and create the anaheim ducks [are] It’s going to be the best for me this year.”

With a full slate of 82 regular-season games to come, Klingberg has a year to prove himself to the Ducks and any other potential suitors.

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