John Klingberg's recent frustration over his stalled contract extension talks raised conjecture over his future with the Dallas Stars. Now it appears the club might not wait until the March 21 trade deadline to move the 29-year-old defenseman.
Sportsnet's Jeff Marek reported Saturday the Stars have “stepped up their efforts” to trade Klingberg. He believes the blueliner will be moved, and though he doesn't know when he said they want to get something done soon.
Klingberg carries an affordable $4.25-million cap hit and lacks no-trade protection. Since his NHL debut in 2014-15, he's ninth as of Jan. 16 among all defensemen with 344 career points. His puck-moving skills should draw interest from playoff contenders.
Marek didn't indicate any specific suitors but Matt Larkin recently suggested the Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators and New York Islanders as possible destinations. The Bruins, Kings, Wild and Predators are among the playoff contenders while the Islanders attempt to climb back into the race following a difficult first half of the season.
Florida Hockey Now's George Richards considers the Panthers in “go-for-it mode” and believes they'll attempt to bolster their blueline before the deadline. He included Klingberg on his list of proposed trade targets.
Sportsnet's Luke Fox wondered if Klingberg would be a good fit with the Toronto Maple Leafs. While he'd provide a boost to their defense corps, Fox believes they'll pursue a more affordable stay-at-home option.
Perhaps the Stars will attempt to peddle Klingberg to a non-contender if he's open to a sign-and-trade proposal. Such moves, however, are rare and could be difficult to pull off given he's said to be seeking an eight-year, $63-million deal.