John Klingberg said he is still seeking a lengthier contract and knows he has to produce after the defenseman signed for one year with the Anaheim Ducks on Friday.
“I mean it’s probably part of the plan, but I’m not going to look too far ahead,” Klingberg said Monday. “I want to get long term at the end of the day. Right now, I’m signing (for) one year at Anaheim and we’re going to have to take it from here. I can’t focus on what’s going to be there in one year.
“Obviously, I’m going to need to have a good season and the team is going to need to have a good season as well. If the team’s successful, I’m going to be successful. I had a great talk with (Ducks) general manager) Pat Verbeek as well, with where we think it’s going to be at with the team in the future.
Financial terms of the contract for Klingberg, who turns 30 on Aug. 14, were not disclosed. He had 47 points (six goals, 41 assists) in 74 regular-season games for the Dallas Stars and one assist in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games last season. He had 374 points (71 goals, 303 assists) in 552 regular-season games with the Stars, who selected him in the fifth round (No. 131) of the 2010 NHL Draft. Of those points, 148 came on the power play (39.6 percent). The Ducks were 14th in the NHL last season with the man-advantage (21.9 percent) after being ranked last in 2020-21 (8.9 percent).
“Where we were at with our defense at this time, adding John is huge for us,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins said. “He is a well-rounded player, he’s got great experience in all aspects of the game. I think everybody quickly looked at his ability to run a power play and a lot of teams are short on right-handed defenseman, and he brings that As well. We think we’ve got a real solid individual, somebody that is going to really fit in well with our group and help us out greatly on our back end.”
Klingberg has 35 points (seven goals, 28 assists) in 59 playoff games and helped Dallas advance to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final, where he lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games. The Stars lost to the Calgary Flames in seven games in the Western Conference First Round last season.
Anaheim (31-37-14) finished seventh in the Pacific Division last season and has missed the playoffs four straight seasons. Klingberg was arguably the top defenseman available when free agency opened July 13 but remained on the market until he and the Ducks came to an agreement Friday.
He said he’s confident he made the right choice.
“For myself where customized, with what I said with I think the Ducks as a team are, where the organization is and what they’re trying to build on in the future, I think it’s exciting for me to start with one year and see where thing go [and] move on from there,” Klingberg said. “But that’s kind of the thought process I was going through, when we narrowed down teams, that it was going to be one year. Going into free agency, we were looking for a long term. That’s not a secret. The market is what it is right now, and we had to switch up the tactics a little bit. At the end of the day, I realized it’s going to be a shorter-term deal here moving into the future.”
“Obviously with the COVID world and the flat cap and all that, it’s a little bit different than it’s been in years past. The more and more during these 2-3 weeks, I understood that the long term and the fit, I was looking for probably wasn’t there this year, so we kind of narrowed down to a shorter-term contract. A few teams were interested in me and I was interested in them, but at the end of the day I narrowed it down and I think the Anaheim Ducks [are] going to be the best fit for me this year.”