New Leaf considered one of the top-5 riskiest signings of the off-season

Published August 23, 2023 at 8:55

Hours into his first free agency as GM of the Leafs, Brad Treliving added some additional offense to the Leafs' blueline when he signed John Klingberg to a 1-year contract worth $4.15M. As soon as the signing was announced, Leaf fans were torn about it. Some liked it because it would take some of the offensive pressure off of Morgan Rielly, while others didn't like it due to the fact that Klingberg has been one of the worst defensemen defensively over the last few season.

Allan Mitchell of The Athletic did a deep-dive into Klingberg's last five seasons and what he found defensively warranted Klingberg to be listed as one of the top-five riskiest signings this off-season. Klingberg's defensive struggles are no secret, but he played much better following a trade to Minnesota at this past season's trade deadline. Other than that however, Mitchell identified that the last time Klingberg performed well in a top-pairing role at five-on-five was the 2018-19 season with Dallas. Outside of the 2018-19 season when Klingberg played almost 40 percent of his time against top-six forwards, the only other time he performed well against top-six forwards was the 2020-21 season, but he only played 25 percent of his time against them.

The Leafs are a much better defensive team than Anaheim and Minnesota and the theory is that the Leafs are hoping their defensive structure will help hide some of Klingberg's defensive woes. However, the signing is still risky. If things don't start well for Klingberg, he could find himself on the bottom pairing or even out of the lineup very quickly.

Source: The Athletic

August 23   |   572 answers
New Leaf considered one of the top-5 riskiest signings of the off-season

Over or under 50 points for John Klingberg this year in Toronto?

Under29651.7 %
Over23240.6 %
I'll say 50 right on the nose447.7 %
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