The Minnesota Wild have reportedly landed defenseman John Klingberg from the Anaheim Ducks in a deal that got completed just before the deadline Friday.
The Ducks will receive defenseman Andrej Sustr, the rights to forward Nikita Nesterenko and a fourth-round pick in 2025. Anaheim retains 50% of Klingberg’s remaining salary this year.
The Wild also added some size up front, acquiring center Oskar Sundqvist from the Detroit Red Wings for a fourth-round selection this summer. The 6-foot-3 Sundqvist, 28, had seven goals and 21 points for Detroit this season and won a Stanley Cup with the St. Louis Blues in 2018.
In Klingberg, the Wild get a defenseman they could use either in their top four or top six. One of Klingberg’s strengths is his ability to facilitate a power play, which has been something of a problem area for him this season. In his final season with the Dallas Stars, Klingberg finished with 20 points on the extra skater advantage. This year, he has six power-play points through 50 games on what is the worst power-play unit in the league, with a 15.6% success rate. The Wild, however, have the No. 10 power play in the NHL with a 22.9% success rate.
Getting Klingberg and reinforcing their blue line comes as the Wild are among the many Western Conference teams trying to solidify their playoff spot. The Wild are three points behind the Dallas Stars for the Central Division lead and the best record in the Western Conference. That said, the Wild are also two points ahead of the Edmonton Oilers for the first wild-card spot and four ahead of the Winnipeg Jets for the last wild-card spot.
Klingberg’s time in Southern California lasted less than a season after he signed a one-year “prove it” deal worth $7 million with the Ducks. The expectation was that Klingberg could help the Ducks continue the progress they made last season, when they finished 31-37-14 and at one point appeared in contention for a wild-card spot. The Ducks could also potentially move him in the event the season went in the other direction.
Anaheim has been porous defensively this season, and Klingberg’s statistics show that to a certain extent. But his puck-moving ability and playoff experience with the Stars likely piqued contenders’ interest as the trade deadline neared. Klingberg has eight goals and 24 points but was a minus-28 on a team that often found itself trailing.
But the native of Gothenburg, Sweden, has a much larger body of work on his résumé. In nine NHL seasons, Klingberg reached double digits in goals four times. And in the 2019-20 campaign interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Klingberg had 10 goals and 45 points in the regular season before helping lead Dallas to the Stanley Cup Final in the postseason bubble in Edmonton, Alberta.
Klingberg has been among the top minute-getters on his team nearly every season he has been in the NHL. Through the All-Star break this season, he held a career time-on-ice average of 22:49. And in 2017-18 with Dallas, he averaged 24:04.
The Ducks entered Friday as one of the teams in the running to win the NHL draft lottery and the right to take presumed No. 1 pick Connor Bedard. Anaheim has the third-fewest points in the NHL and is two points away from the Columbus Blue Jackets for the fewest points in the league.