Is John Klingberg still a top defenseman worthy of a large contract by the Dallas Stars or is the money better spent elsewhere? Klingberg, 29, was drafted by the Stars in 2010 and as soon as he debuted in 2014-15 he made an impact.
He rose quickly through the ranks of the Stars defensemen and established himself as a Norris Trophy candidate in his early years. His abilities have slipped as of late, however. His stats are in a steep decline, the salary cap is getting tight, and other players deserve the money more than he does. Barring a miraculous turnaround or a really cheap contract I don’t see a Klingberg contract going well for Dallas.
Dallas Stars: Salary cap and young talent
Currently, on the NHL roster, the Stars have 3 defensemen locked up until 2025-26. Two of their defensemen have a no-movement clause. These 3 defenders currently make up 22% of the cap, adding another $7.5 million for a new Klingberg contract would take it up to 31% of the $81.5 million salary cap annually. The Stars would need a team-friendly deal in the $5 million range at most, and I cant see Klingberg signing a contract like that.
With a decent draft class for defensemen, and players like Thomas Harley looking more and more ready for NHL-level competition I don’t see the benefit in bringing Klingberg back to an already financially strained roster.
While we would certainly feel a difference without Klingberg, we could recover quickly by retaining some grit in the bottom defensemen pairing while infusing the top 4 defensemen with a young, hungry player like Harley. Holding on to Klingberg could inhibit the growth of the team as a whole.