Just like every team in the NHL that are contenders for a playoff berth, the Boston Bruins have needs to address on their current roster. The two main places that could use an upgrade are a second-line center and a defenseman, mainly a left-shot. One name that has been circulating about the possibility of being on the move is Arizona Coyotes young blueliner and left-shot Jakob Chychrun.
A lot of different teams will be in on the 23-year-old Chychrun and in order to get a deal done, the Coyotes would want a haul back in return. On Friday night, David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period confirmed the news that Dallas Stars defensemen John Klingberg has requested a trade. He is a right-shot, something that the Black and Gold might not need, but adding Klingberg would add depth.
Bruins Should Kick the Tires on Klingberg
It would be in the best interest for Bruins general manager Don Sweeney to at least pick up the phone in his office at Warrior Ice Arena and make a call to Stars GM Jim Nill. Boston’s defense is in need of help, mainly on the left-side, but adding a talent of Klingberg’s, regardless of him being a right-shot is just worth checking in on with Dallas.
What would Klingberg bring the Bruins? First off, he is a two-way defenseman that would fit right into the lineup. This season for the Stars, he is averaging 21:48 of time-on-ice a game and just over 23 minutes a night for his career. He has a goal and 15 assists and would bring a wealth of experience on the power play. He would split time with Charlie McAvoy on the top unit, but since Torey Krug left following the 2019-20 season in free agency to join the St. Louis Blues, the Black and Gold have lacked the “quarterback” on their top unit. Nothing against McAvoy or Matt Grzelcyk, but the unit has not been clicking as it did before Krug’s departure, especially this season.
In 505 career NHL games, Klingberg has 66 career goals and 278 assists, with 117 of his assists coming on the man advantage, as well as 16 goals. He brings something that the Bruins lack, effective shifts and solid play in their own zone. It’s no secret that clearing pucks, managing the opponent’s net-front presence in front of goalie Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark have been an issue. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder from Sweden would help solve some of those issues right away.
Klingberg’s Fit With the Bruins
If the Bruins were to acquire Klingberg, where would he fit? He could be used in the second pairing with Reilly or Forbort, with McAvoy staying on the top pair. Boston has depth concerns on defense as it is without Jakub Zboril, a left-shot, out for the season with an injury, while Connor Clifton has filled in recently on the right, but who would be a better fit for the Bruins right now, Clifton or Klingberg? In reality, any of these pairings could be mixed and matched with.
|Left Defense||Right Defense|
|Matt Grzelcyk||Charlie McAvoy|
|Derek Forbort||John Klingberg|
|Mike Reilly||Brandon Carlo|
For the second game in a row on Saturday night, McAvoy was a scratch with an injury in the Bruins’ 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was expected that he was going to return to the lineup after missing Thursday night’s 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild at home, but he was unable to go. The injury may not be a lingering one that will cause the former Boston University standout to miss much more time, but with prospect Urho Vaakanainen taking his spot and playing on his off-side, that is not something that coach Bruce Cassidy wants to be doing much of.
Klingberg is in the final year of a seven-year, $29 million contract that carries a reasonable $4.25 million average annual value (AAV). The Bruins do have Jake DeBrusk, a young forward who also requested a trade in November, that could begin discussions around and they would need to add more to clear cap space, but it is not out of the question to get done, even with an apparent Tuukka Rask return on the horizon. Maybe the return won’t be as much considering Klingberg is a free agent this upcoming offseason. That’s what Sweeney needs to figure out.
Does Klingberg solve the Bruins left-shot issue on defense? Obviously not being a right-shot, but he does provide depth that would make an instant impact and bring some toughness. Ideally, Sweeney would like to add a left-shot, but sometimes you have to be flexible and make a deal for the best player available and in this case, Klingberg would be that player. Whether or not a deal can be done is the question, but Boston needs to find that out by making a phone call and seeing the asking price, and being aggressive.
Scott Roche covers the Boston Bruins for The Hockey Writers. A frequent user of the Oxford comma. Scott has been a sports writer for 25 years for different sites and daily newspapers. Writing started out as a hobby, but it has become a passion for Scott over the years.