John Klingberg says he is still looking for a longer contract and knows he has to produce after the defender 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 be long term at the end of the day. Right now I’m signing (for) a 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 a year, it must be this season.
“Obviously I’m going to need to have a good season and the team is also going to need to have a good season. If the team is successful, I’m going to be successful. I had a great conversation with (Ducks general manager ) Pat Verbeek as well, with where we think it’s going to be with the team going forward. We’ll take this year to start and see where we are.”
Financial terms of Klingberg’s contract, who turns 30 on August 14, were not disclosed. He had 47 points (six goals, 41 assists) in 74 regular season games with 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 (131st overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft. Of those points, 148 came on the power play (39.6%). The Ducks finished 14th in the NHL last season with the men’s advantage (21.9%) after being ranked last in 2020-21 (8.9%).
“Where we were with our defense at that point, adding John is huge for us,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins said. “He’s a complete player, he has a lot of experience in all aspects of the game. I think everyone quickly looked at his ability to lead a power play and a lot of teams lack a right-handed defender, and he brings that We think we have a really solid person, someone who is going to fit in really well with our group and help us a lot on our background.
Klingberg had 35 points (seven goals, 28 assists) in 59 playoff games and helped Dallas advance to the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals, where they 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 missed the playoffs four straight seasons. Klingberg was arguably the best defender available when free agency opened on July 13, but he stayed on the market until he and the Ducks reached a deal on Friday.
He said he was convinced he had made the right choice.
“For me individually, with what I’ve said with where I think the Ducks are a team, where the organization is at and what they’re trying to build on going forward, I think it’s exciting for me to start with a year and see where the thing goes [and] from there,” Klingberg said. “But it was kind of the thought process that I was going through, when we cut the squads, that it was going to be for a year. Going into free agency, we were looking for the long haul. It’s not a secret. The market is what it is right now, and we had to change tactics a bit. At the end of the day I realized it would be a shorter term deal here going forward.”
“Obviously with the world of COVID and the flat cap and all that, it’s a bit different than it has been in years past. More and more during these 2-3 weeks, I realized that along term and did, I was looking for it because I probably wasn’t there this year, so we kind of narrowed it down to a shorter-term deal Anaheim Ducks [are] will be the best solution for me this year.”