Dallas Stars fans need no introduction to John Klingberg. The 29-year-old defenseman has been a stalwart on the team’s blueline since he was drafted in the 5th round of the 2010 NHL draft.
Klingberg is in the final year of his 7-year, $29.75 million contract signed back in 2015 and will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
The question now is, will the Stars try to re-sign Klingberg or let him walk?
Klingberg has been a critical player for the Stars. He has recorded 374 points (71 goals, 303 assists) in 552 regular-season games and 35 points (seven goals, 28 assists) in 55 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
According to the Star’s general manager, Jim Nill, the team would love to keep Klingberg. They do understand that he has to look out for himself as well.
“Oh, I’d love to keep him,” Nill said. “But he’s got to look out for himself too, so I fully understand that. So we’ll see if we can figure something out.” before the Stars’ 4-2 win against the Calgary Flames in Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round at American Airlines Center on Saturday.
While this might seem to make the situation cut and dried, Klingberg himself might not be feeling the love.
Earlier this year, back in January, just after the Stars’ 3 – 2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, Winter Classic, Klingberg admitted to feeling under-appreciated by the team, or at least the management.
“Other guys have signed right before the season before. I wanted to do that as well,” Klingberg said at the time. “Lately, it has been going more quietly and quietly. For me, as a player, I don’t feel that I’ve been appreciated in that way when we don’t even negotiate. It’s quiet.”
Whether or not Klingberg was sincere or if he was just posturing for a new contract remains to be seen. It’s obvious now that the defenseman wants to stay with the team that drafted him.
His situation has also improved. When he expressed his dissatisfaction in January, Klingberg had only 17 points (one goal, 16 assists) in 26 games. He was able to turn things around. Klingberg managed to end the season fifth on the Stars with 47 points (six goals, 41 assists) in 74 games.
Nills is now saying all the right things, and it appears that the Dallas Stars are interested in keeping Klingberg, but only time will tell if they can come to an agreement.
The Stars have some crucial decisions to make this offseason, with Klingberg’s contract being one of them. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
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