The Anaheim Ducks traded defenseman John Klingberg to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Andrej Sustr, Nikita Nesterenko, and a fourth-round pick in 2025. Pierre LeBrun first reported the last-minute deal that snuck in just before the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline passed at 3 p.m. Eastern time on Friday afternoon.
Related: 2023 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker – Live Updates
Klingberg spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Dallas Stars. He signed with the Ducks in late July on a one-year deal worth $7 million. His time in Anaheim was a major disappointment. While the Ducks did not view him as a long-term building block, his struggles this season diminished the return they would’ve expected for a player with a track record of success.
Wild Acquire Klingberg
Klingerberg developed a strong reputation around the league early in his career. He finished sixth in voting for the Norris Trophy in 2015-16 and 2017-18. He became a key cog during the Stars’ run to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final in the Edmonton bubble with four goals and 17 assists in 26 games. However, he slowly slipped out of favor in Dallas toward the end of the 2021-22 season. The Stars elected to let him walk in free agency after losing a seven-game series to the Calgary Flames in the opening round.
The Wild currently sit in second place in the Central Division with the Colorado Avalanche lurking behind them ready to make a push. They now have eight defensemen in the mix for ice time in the playoffs. With the potential loss of Matt Dumba in the offseason, general manager (GM) Bill Guerin might look at bringing back Klingberg if the short-term move works out.
In whatever role the Wild expect Klingberg to play, he will need to improve on what Dom Luszczyszyn called an “irredeemably bad season” so far in 2022-23 (from The Athletic, NHL trade deadline deep dive: Analyzing five players to avoid on the market, 2/23/23). Despite his reputation as a puck-moving defenseman who can contribute at the offensive end, he has struggled to execute breakouts this season. He hasn’t helped the Ducks improve their 32nd-ranked power-play unit in over two minutes of ice time per night with the man advantage.
Ducks Collecting Assets
The Columbus Blue Jackets and the Chicago Blackhawks are the only NHL teams with a worse point percentage than the Ducks. Head coach Dallas Eakins is a lame duck behind the bench, and the playoffs have been an afterthought for almost the entire regular season. The organization’s focus is more on the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, and it comes as no surprise that they moved a veteran on an expiring contract.
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Sustr is a journeyman defenseman whose contract will also expire after the 2022-23 season. It’s unlikely that he fits into the long-term plans of the organization. Nesterenko has spent the past three seasons at the NCAA level with Boston College. The Wild selected him in the sixth round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. The minimal return package indicates a move by GM Pat Verbeek to take any available compensation for a player who didn’t carry as much value as expected.