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Dallas Stars 2015-2016 Player Grades: John Klingberg

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John Klingberg was everything we expected from last season. However, fans still have questions about who the Abbott is to his Costello.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Going into the 2015-2016 season, one thing was certain: a full season with John Klingberg would help Dallas. Dallas is a team that has for years, lacked anything resembling the mythic "number one defensemen". Alas, dear Swedish unicorn, thy name is Klingberg.

You won't find any Stars fan that takes him for granted. And yet, I don't know that some fans fully appreciate the scope of efficiency a number one defensemen provides. His 40 points in 65 games last season was nothing short of miraculous. He then made good on his promise, tallying 58 points in 76 games this season. But most important, he's not just generating points. He's generating offense. There's a difference: points proportional to opportunity is offense. Points not proportional to opportunity is what we call the Chiasson special.

Or think Trevor Daley's point heroics from last season. As such, don't expect a "regression to the mean". Dallas is clearly a better team with him than without him. Yes, this is all obvious to everyone. Just don't tell Johnny Oduya and Jordie Benn:

He had the best shot differential of anyone on the team (even relative to his teammates). There is, I think, the "caveat" to Klingberg's heroics. As silly as it sounds. Fans, and perhaps even coaching staff are wondering 'who watches our Swedish watchmen?' Who will be his puck partner in opponent crime? If only Shane Black were a hockey coach writing Klingberg's script.

If you asked Klingberg, he'd give you a stern answer:

"A lot of people say I need to play with a big physical defenseman and that's so old fashioned," Klingberg said during the playoffs. "The game is changing. I feel more comfortable with another player that can carry the puck, and I think that makes the other team less comfortable."

He's got a point. They were the top pair in the playoffs in shot differential. And they were above average at exiting the zone with possession. If this is what "bad against the forecheck" looks like, maybe I don't want Dallas to look good against the forecheck.

Fans will inevitably sharpen their knifes, pitchforks, and tridents over a debate that requries an Anchorman like tension between parties. I believe what my eyes tell me. But I also believe that my eyes can't process all the information they receive at once. Why? Because science and experience tell me so. Because objects can disappear directly in front of me despite my intense focus on them.

For that reason, I feel like the responsible thing to do is question whatever assumptions I have about what type of player thrives in a playoff environment.

This all feels like a significant diversion from Klingberg's singular performance this season. I apologize. But the reason I find this discussion worth mentioning is that Klingberg is a living, breathing reason to question those assumptions. He played in his own zone more often than not in the playoffs. He wasn't sheltered. Yet he helped generate offense while limiting chances against. As well as actively disrupting zone entries against.

He's not a big guy but he plays big due to his confidence in his skill. And best of all, his career is just getting started.