Defense / Jokerit Helsinki - SM Liiga
August 14, 1992
Hometown: Gothenberg, Sweden
Drafted: 5th Round, 2010 NHL Entry Draft
|2010-11 - Vastra Frolunda HC||26||0||5
|2010-11 - Boras HC||7
|2011-12 - Skelleftea HC||16
|2011-12 - Jokerit Helsinki||20||1||2||3||+1||8|
The Dallas Stars took Patrik Nemeth 41st overall in the second round of the 2010 NHL Draft, but it's been fifth round draft pick John Klingberg that has grabbed the headlines overseas ever sense. Klingberg easily looked like a more finished product in the early going, including a strong showing at development camp last summer in 2011.
The blue liner put up several successful World Junior Championship campaigns, leading up to his signing of his entry-level deal in May of 2011. He has yet to burn a year of that deal and could stay in Sweden or Finland another season before turning pro in North America sometime in 2013.
Klinberg represents so much of what the Stars have been hoping for from each of their last several drafts: Surprising size (or players that are still growing) and someone from the Scandinavian countries, with which Dallas has been so successful in recent years.
At 6-1 and possibly still growing, maturation in his game could net Dallas a nice mix between size and skill, something even their big group of smaller puck movers (Robias, Goligoski, Daley, Larsen) do not have. Like Brenden Dillon and Jamie Oleksiak, Klingberg will have to wait to see what the Stars' long term plan is on the blue line and how free agency affects it.
Continued after the jump...
With eight picks this year the Stars can afford to go "best player available" but will almost certainly choose a couple of defensemen to go along with forwards and at least one young goaltender, we'd like to think. How will that abundance of new talent affect Klingberg's standings in these rankings?
He also spent some of the season with Frolunda's J20 team in the SuperElit league. His 17 points were just five off the team lead among blueliners, but that's with a 28-game handicap. 17 points in 13 season games, plus 11 points in 7 playoff games (clinching playoff MVP honors along the way) suggest that Klingberg has fully graduated to professional status. Klingberg played sparingly at Sweden's top level (notching five assists and a minus-3 rating) but has shown a good deal of potential.
Klinberg is a tough nut to crack in the prognostication department. Hockey's future praises his offensive game and skills with the puck, yet his offensive totals wherever he's been in the last several years do not support the idea that he might blossom into something dangerous on the back end.
The old eye ball test says something differently, to which those who observed Dallas Stars development camp last summer would attest. Klingberg looked, to the naked eye, like one of the more complete, ready packages on the ice. A finished product, or at least as close to one as there was at such a camp in July with no real competition or compete.
The Stars may have found themselves another late bloomer here where Klinberg is concerned. Dallas Stars.com did a piece on him and the scouts agree - The young man sprouted before their eye in 2010.
"I first met him, he was maybe 182 centimeters (5-foot-11)," said Stars amateur scout Rickard Oquist, who is based in Sweden. "When he came to development camp, maybe a month after that, he was like 186 centimeters (6-foot-1). He literally grew two inches in a month." [Dallasstars.com]
He'll spend another season over-seas, at which point his entry level deal could take effect, and he could finish the season with the Texas Stars at the age of just 20. 2013-2014 would likely see his first full professional season in North America, if the Stars are so inclined a year from now.