One of the biggest names in free agency is finally gone.
After weeks of speculation as the all-time best defenseman, John Klingberg finally picked a touchdown spot Friday afternoon, reportedly agreeing to a one-year, $7 million contract with the Anaheim Ducks.
Signed to a one-year contract only, Klingberg will be eligible for unlimited free rein again next summer at the age of 30.
And that is why the market for affordable defenders has shrunk significantly. The gap between Klingberg and the next best player available in his position made the Grand Canyon look like a pothole before signing him today, with the pucker finishing the season with 47 points on a Dallas Stars team that had barely broken the rules elsewhere. .
The 29-year-old is a borderline option for a top pair, a right-handed defender with elite offensive ability who leads the game from long range with the best of them.
However, you won’t get much on defense.
Klingberg fought for himself for most of his career, keeping him from breaking into the NHL’s elite defensive class. But he’s still a terrific blueliner with a lot to show for, scoring 50 or more points in his entire career and averaging over 22 minutes of night time on the ice. If you’re looking for a powerplay quarterback and offensive threat, Klingberg is one of the best options you can find.
Such players rarely enter the open market, especially those who are in the middle of their heyday.
And with today’s signing, the Ducks are taking another step in their quest for relevance after years of perestroika.