Oilers Don’t Need & Can’t Afford John Klingberg

Recent talks have come up that John Klingberg has asked for a trade from the Dallas Stars. Contract negotiations have been going on and the organization couldn’t make much progress, meaning that his time in Dallas may be coming to an end. With a defenceman becoming available, there will be talks and inquiries on the possibility of him being targeted by the Edmonton Oilers.

The Stars are not in a playoff spot at the moment — mind you they have games in hand on the teams ahead of them. However, there are a lot of teams ahead of them in the standings between them and even a wildcard spot. They sit sixth in the Central Division and 13th in the Western Conference. It will continue to be a tight race, and even though they have won three games in a row, they are playing .500 hockey over the past 10 games.

If we see them falling out of the playoff race, Klingberg is an obvious trade candidate for the Stars to deal, and teams will definitely be calling to see his price. The Oilers should not be one of them. There are a number of reasons why the Oilers should avoid making a deal with Dallas about Klingberg unless it specifically involves sending Tyson Barrie back. We will get more into that below.

The Cost For Klingberg Isn’t Worth It

The ask for Klingberg is going to be high. He’s a rental, so a lot of the time, rentals aren’t worth it at all and then the team loses them to free agency in the summer having given up assets with nothing to show for it. Unless a team is comfortable in a playoff spot, rentals are very risky. Even then, injuries or poor performance with an adjustment period can hold a team back.

With an elite-level defenceman like Klingberg, Dallas isn’t just going to let him go just because he asked for a trade. There will be a number of teams inquiring on him due to his offensive prowess and ability to quarterback a power play. This should drive up the price and make it even less attractive to trade for his services in Edmonton.

John Klingberg Dallas Stars-Oilers Don't Need & Can't Afford John Klingberg
John Klingberg, Dallas Stars (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

If Edmonton were to even consider calling about Klingberg, the cost would most likely include a roster defenceman, a prospect, and a draft pick. I assume the prospect would be on defence to hopefully replace what they will be losing in Klingberg in the near future, though the Oilers have much more to offer in the way of forward prospects.

The only possible way it would work for Edmonton to trade for Klingberg is to send Barrie the other way with his contract and term. Who knows if this would entice Dallas with Miro Heiskanen being able to play the power play, but it would replace what they lost with two more years at a cheaper price. The Stars could pair Barrie with Esa Lindell to cover up much of what Barrie lacks in the defensive side of the game.

The money seems to be the issue with Klingberg in Dallas, and his next contract should come in around $6 million, which is less than Dougie Hamilton, but they are similar players to compare in this regard. That would save them around $1.5 to $2 million for the next two seasons.

Klingberg would either be deployed on the first or second pairing in Edmonton. But the question remains, would the Stars go for it and would the Oilers have to give up something extra? If they have to give up a draft pick in the top half of the draft or a prospect that has potential to someday play for the Oilers, I would advise against it. It would solve the issue of overpaying a third-pairing defenceman for two more seasons to run the power play, but I’m sure there will be other suitors if the Oilers make Barrie available in the offseason.

Oilers Don’t Need More Offensive-Minded Defencemen

Besides a deal for Barrie, if the Oilers were to just add Klingberg on top of what they already have, it wouldn’t make much sense at all. Klingberg is an offensive-minded defenceman who plays the right side. Though it is less likely to find a skilled right-shot defenceman than a left-shot defenceman in the NHL, the Oilers have more than enough.

John Klingberg Dallas Stars-Oilers Don't Need & Can't Afford John Klingberg
John Klingberg, Dallas Stars (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

They signed Barrie for three years at $4.5 million, Evan Bouchard is on his entry-level contract, but has already taken big strides forward in his development at the NHL level, and Cody Ceci, who has more of a defensive mindset. So, on the right side alone, the Oilers have three right-shot defencemen, two of which can run the power play and both who are offensively capable.

What the Oilers need is a defenceman who can play either second or third pairing on the left side. All three Oilers’ defencemen mentioned above are exclusively right defencemen and would be at least a bit out of place on the other side. I have yet to mention that if they go and spend to get Klingberg from the Stars, moves to upgrade the defence would be over and the Oilers wouldn’t have gotten that shutdown defender that the team needs the most.

Related: Oilers’ Trade Targets on the Seattle Kraken

The Oilers may need to change things up in the locker room very soon if the slide continues any longer. We will have to see where each of these teams are a little deeper into the season, but the Oilers should stick to focusing on an area they most need to improve at this season.

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