Klingberg is an offensive-minded defenseman, with 407 points in 619 NHL games, who moves the puck well and can play a role on the Leafs’ special teams.
The 30-year-old spent the bulk of his career with the Dallas Stars, for whom he slotted into a top-four slot. That said, Klingberg projects to fit into Toronto’s bottom pairing now. And that depth is especially important for the Maple Leafs given Justin Holl departed on a free agent deal of his own, landing a three-year pact with Detroit, and Erik Gustafsson moved on to the New York Rangers for one year and $825,000.
This is the second straight season where Klingberg has agreed on a one-year contract. There wasn’t a ton of interest in the long-term market for veteran defensemen last summer, so Klingberg took a one-year, “prove-it” deal with the Anaheim Ducks. That paid him $7 million and gave him an opportunity to eat up minutes on a team not expected to contend in the Western Conference.
The Ducks indeed quickly fell out of the postseason race and elected to ship Klingberg out to the Minnesota Wild at the trading deadline.
Though he will be 31 when training camp opens, Klingberg can still anchor a power play and fit in nicely on the contending Wild after an up-and-down tenure with the Ducks.
The 2010 first-round pick hit his offensive peak in 2017-18, when he finished with eight goals and 67 points for the Stars. It was the only season in his career that he played the full 82-game schedule.
Toronto Maple Leafs add John Klingberg with one-year deal