By Pierre LeBrun, Joe Smith, Michael Russo and Eric Stephens
The Minnesota Wild acquired defenseman John Klingberg from the Anaheim Ducks just before Friday’s trade deadline, the teams announced. Here’s what you need to know:
- The Ducks receive a 2025 fourth-round pick, defenseman Andrej Šustr and the rights to prospect Nikita Nesterenko. The Ducks keep 50% of Klingberg’s salary.
- Klingberg, 30, signed a one-year, $7 million contract with the Ducks in the offseason after spending the first eight years of his NHL career with the Dallas Stars.
- Klingberg has eight goals and 16 assists in 50 games played.
- The 2018 All-Star narrowly avoided injury in early February after being hit by a high stick from Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk under his visor, missing his eye by inches.
AthleticismInstant analysis of:
Wild gets his defender
I felt all day today that the Wild would be looking to add a defenseman. Klingberg has had a tough year playing for a defensively terrible Ducks team, but he comes to one of the best defensive teams in the NHL and should also be able to help the second unit on the power play. The Wild may have had options to trade Alex Goligoski, but he says he was never asked to officially waive his no-move clause. That means the Wild suddenly has a ton of depth on the blue line.
They’ll carry eight defenders once an injured Jonas Brodin returns to the lineup, meaning Goligoski and one of Jon Merrill or more likely Calen Addison will be extras. That will increase to nine when the Wild are expected to sign Brock Faber, acquired in Kevin Fiala’s trade last summer, after the University of Minnesota’s season ended. — Russian
Assessing Ducks return for Klingberg
It’s terrible, to be brutally frank here. Part of general manager Pat Verbeek’s goal signing the 30-year-old was that he could flip him for another first-round pick in this potentially fruitful draft if the Ducks struggled, but the veteran had a season productive and restored part of its past. value in the eyes of league leaders. Instead, Klingberg started horribly, as his defensive shortcomings were glaring on a team that allowed the most goals in the NHL, and immediately lost his spot as the top power-play unit to Cam Fowler. .
He has recovered to score eight goals and 16 assists in 50 games and his atrocious underlying numbers and minus-28 rating might not matter in a Wild team that is much better and usually plays a PA system which can better hide its shortcomings. But Verbeek needed something. Should. Otherwise, what good is it all? Not moving it would have been a total waste. Yes, Verbeek got nothing close to what was once possible. Something is better than nothing, however. — Stephens
Who is Nikita Nesterenko?
A promising nugget? It would be the best-case scenario for Anaheim if the Boston College junior forward was worth anything. Nesterenko offers intriguing potential and is a good size at 6-foot-2 and 183 pounds. Minnesota drafted him as a center, but he often played on the wing for the Eagles. Cutter Gauthier, the top-five pick, is getting the most attention, but Nesterenko is having a stellar season with 11 goals and 19 assists in 32 games. He compared his playing style to that of Evgeny Kuznetsov.
The Ducks will want to sign him (and may be able to) because he can elect free agency given he will be four years away from the Wild to draft him in the sixth round. Recent indications were that he was not considering signing with Minnesota. Nesterenko is of Russian descent but hails from Brooklyn after his parents emigrated to the United States. — Stephens
Klingberg, 30, signed a one-year, $7 million contract with the Ducks on July 29, 2022. He had previously spent eight seasons with the Dallas Stars, including a Stanley Cup Final during the season 2019-2020.
For his career, Klingberg has 79 goals and 319 assists in 602 games played.
The Wild (35-21-6) are second in the Central Division, while the Ducks (20-34-8) are last in the Pacific Division.
(Photo: Jerome Miron / USA Today)