John Klingberg will play out the final year of his 7-year, $29.75 million contract with the Dallas Stars this season. Many fans expected the defenseman’s contract to have been extended by this point in the offseason. As far as we know, negotiations remain all quiet on the western front.
Should Dallas Stars fans be worried?
Stars general manager Jim Nill stated the team was negotiating with Klingberg back in July. Nill also indicated the desire to keep Dallas’s defensive core together. Such a task obviously requires a new contract for Klingberg. However, there has been no contract extension nor updates on the situation from Nill in almost a month.
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The reality of the Klingberg contract situation is that the Stars are in wait-and-see mode. Dallas will enter the season with one of the oldest rosters in the NHL in terms of average age, but remain in a win now state.
Fans should expect some change if the Stars fall on their face this season. Such change would likely involve a youth movement.
Any youth movement would likely count out John Klingberg. Klingberg will be 30 before the start of the 2022-23 season, which is well outside the mid-to-late 20s player we’re thinking Nill would build around in this scenario. It is a scenario we, as fans, dislike thinking about, but cannot ignore.
There remains better potential that the Dallas Stars are again well within the hunt for the 2021-22 Western Conference crown. Remaining competitive would delay any youth movement while Nill looks for a roster that can (again) try again. In the try again scenario, we anticipate a Klingberg extension depending on a couple of variables.
We anticipate the cap increases enough to facilitate a new Klingberg contract. Another consideration is the Stars will be free of Joe Pavelski’s $7 million cap hit in 2022-23. We also don’t anticipate Ben Bishop and his $4.9M cap hit is still on the roster next year. Regardless, Nill will have it within his means to keep John Klingberg in Victory Green for the long term.
We would place Klingberg’s value at $7.5 or $8 million a season, given his past production and contributions to both ends of the ice. One can assume he will not make more than the $8.45 million per Miro Heiskanen was recently resigned for. Another gauge is the $6.5 million Torey Krug snagged from the St. Louis Blues during the offseason he turned 29.
John Klingberg has been one of the Dallas Stars best values since he broke out in 2014-15. The Swede ranks 9th in points by defensemen since his rookie season with 65 goals and 262 assists over 478 games. Klingberg remains in his prime and at a time when puck-moving defenseman are cashing in during free agency.
Klingberg will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2021-22 season and will have no shortage of suitors.
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