Disgruntled Dallas defenseman, John Klingberg, is one of the hottest free agents as we approach the trade deadline and the Panthers have been linked to trade rumors for him; however, I am posing the question of whether or not he is the right fit for what the Panthers need?
While it would require some work and salary cap gymnastics, the $4.25 million cap hit would be manageable, especially if a team can get the Stars to retain any of his salary.
Besides the money, the Stars seem to be asking a fairly high price for the not so young, puck moving defenseman. The rumored ask, as of now, is a first-round pick and a top tier prospect at the least.
Now that we have the salary cap and trade request out of the way, I present the question, is Klingberg the right fit for the Panthers?
While Johnny K is a great puck moving player with the potential to hit 60 points this season, he is not what the Panthers need on the back end.
For as great as he is offensively, the Cats need to be a more shutdown defensive team and Klingber’s defensive numbers do not align with that. Here is a chart summarizing his defensive metrics over the last 3 years:
In my opinion, the Cats already have too many defensemen, especially in Weegar and Ekblad, that are offense first.
As mentioned in my previous articles, they need a stay-at-home shutdown style player, like a Josi, Pietrangelo, Pollock, or Toews.
Despite the fact that the Panthers have been winning handily since the return to play from the Covid Christmas break, they have also given up way more shots than they should be, especially in big wins:
Yes, I know this is not all of the games that they have played; however, these are considered blowout wins, yet the Bobrovsky and Knight are facing 30+ shots per game.
Bob, who is getting almost all of the starts, is going to be absolutely gassed come playoffs if the Cats don’t learn how to keep the other team to 25 shots or less.
While the thought of another high-flying defenseman may excite the fanbase, everyone knows that playoff hockey is a different animal. As you saw in the last several Cup runs between Tampa and St. Louis; you do not win playoff games 8-6. They are won in tightly fought, hard hitting battles. All the run-and-gun style of play will get you is a first-round exit and the opportunity to watch the rest of the playoffs on your couch.
Someone who might make sense making a move for would be Mark Giordano from the Seattle Kraken. The Kraken have a long road ahead of them before becoming contenders and the aging defenseman would fit in great at the stay-at-home role. His name has been linked to the trade deadline and he would be a great rental player should the Cats want to go all in on this season. I am sure with the right deals in place, Zito could make this happen.
The Panthers have also been linked to Ben Chiarot from Montreal as a deadline deal. The Cats and Habs played each other back on New Years Day so Zito and Brunette had a first-hand look at the d-man. It is believed that the asking price for Benny boy is a first-round draft pick; however, the Cats have already traded the 2022 1st rounder away so they only have the 2023 to offer. Although, due to the cap crunch, they may have to throw in a little more, like a top prospect, to sweeten the pot and get the Habs to retain part of Chiarot’s salary.
This is a long shot, but there are also two Anaheim Ducks defensemen who could fit in nicely and at a smaller asking price and cap hit. Josh Manson and Hampus Lindholm could slide in nicely and provide size, physicality, and the defense first mentality which the Panthers are lacking. I am not sure if the Ducks are willing to move either of these guys, but it is an interesting thought.
In summary, what is going to put the Panthers over the hump and really give the league something to worry about is not another offensive d-man who wants to get points, but instead the quiet guy no one talks about who can help keep defend our zone.
As always Cats fans, in Zito we trust!
Bonus content: for those degenerate gamblers out there, I wanted to share a few picks I have for the next few days. If you like this type of stuff/content, let us know and I will do more:
- Tuesday – Jan 18th:
- Florida Panthers ML and PL over Calgary
- Panthers have been off since Saturday and you know Sam Bennett wants to drag his balls across his old team. If your book has prop bets, I would definitely take him on the over 0.5 points as well
- Ottawa over Buffalo ML & PL
- It is Buffalo, enough said
- Islanders over the Flyer PL & ML
- The Flyers stink right now. Bet against them every chance you get
- Florida Panthers ML and PL over Calgary