With less than 48 hours until the NHL trade deadline, the Anaheim Ducks are bubble-wrapping their best assets. The team will not dress John Klingberg or Dmitry Kulikov tonight, but Eric Stephens of The Athletic reports that a deal does not appear imminent.
Klingberg, 30, was expected to be one of the deadline’s darlings this year, after signing a one-year, $7MM contract with the Ducks expressly to flip him to a contender. Unfortunately, things have been disastrous this season for Klingberg on an Anaheim team trying to get the best draft lottery position possible.
Through 47 games, the veteran defenseman had just 20 points and was pulling the puck out of his own net on a regular basis. Luckily, for the Ducks at least, he recorded four points in his last three games, and looked a bit more like the elite puck-mover he was as a young player for the Dallas Stars.
Perhaps they can turn that recent showcase into something good, as they almost certainly will retain half his contract to get the best asset possible.
On the other hand, Kulikov already comes at a reduced price after signing a two-year contract with the Minnesota Wild in 2021 that carries a cap hit of just $2.25MM. At this point in his career, the 32-year-old is a more traditional stay-at-home defenseman, though there were early years with the Florida Panthers when he ran a powerplay.
He has 15 points in 61 games but is the epitome of “deadline depth,” given his 866 games of experience, physical play, and relatively low cost.
I wouldn’t take Klingberg even at 50% salary, for free. The guy’s been lousy defensively for several seasons now, and he’s been demoted to downright ghastly this year. His whole value has been offense, and he’s regressed to mediocre offensively this season. Actually *paying* anything to acquire him is a sucker’s bet.
Klingberg to Kings for Walker and 4th rounder..Then sign Klingberg to a deal that is top heavy with bonuses…
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The Kings are trying to win games, why would they want Klingberg?
Klingberg to Canes for Chatfield and a pick