What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “Ultimate John Klingberg”? Mike Heika of The Dallas Morning News discussed this with the Dallas Stars’ franchise defenseman, and he already knows what he wants his next evolution to look like.
Klingberg made his name with his offensive acumen and currently ranks eighth among all NHL D-men since 2014 (when he first entered the league), with 147 points in 221 games. But he believes, with new coaches and a new philosophy, that he can become a great defensive defenseman, too:
That's great news for Stars fans, who have been waiting for a No. 1 defenseman since the departure of Sergei Zubov in 2009. Klingberg has been the unlikely candidate to fill that void, and he has had his ups and downs. A fifth-round pick in 2010, Klingberg started playing defense at age 15. Now 25, he understands the intricacies of the position better but still is learning.
"He's a good player with a great résumé, and he just needs to keep growing," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "It takes time to learn how to play defense in this league, and he's in that process. We just need to be patient and help him along the way."
Heika notes the comparisons to Erik Karlsson, the NHL’s reigning best-in-league among defenders, that have peppered Klingberg’s career for better and otherwise. But it’s former Ottawa Senators captain Jason Spezza who points out a key difference – and gives some insight into why former Karlsson wingman Marc Methot is expected to play on a different pair.
"Karlsson does it with his feet, and Klinger does it with his hands," Spezza said. "They approach the game differently."
So Hitchcock has decided not to start the season with Klingberg and Methot together. Instead, Klingberg will play with his partner from last season, Esa Lindell, and Methot will play with Jamie Oleksiak. That doesn't mean, though, that Klingberg isn't being seen as a big-minute defenseman who should be playing in all situations.
"He has to play those minutes," Hitchcock said. "He has to play at that time, and it's our job that he knows how to play. It starts on us, and then it goes to the player."
There’s much more at Mike’s place. [SportsDayDFW]
For anyone near Glens Falls, New York, the Stars have posted information on Thursday and Friday memorial services for Dave Strader, plus notes on where fans can make memorial gifts. [Dallas Stars]
Scott Burnside continues his Central Division previews with the Stars themselves, who he predicts will finish third in #MurderDeathKill this season.
FOX Sports Southwest welcomes October in style with rebroadcasts of classic games scheduled for every night leading up to Friday’s season opener. [SportsDayDFW]
In addition, the Stars are inviting fans to vote for their favorite Defining Moments in a tournament-style bracket.
We've posted our 25 Defining Moments in Dallas Stars history, and now it's time to pick which is number 1! https://t.co/adhXj7iwjN— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) October 2, 2017
Ken Hitchcock's first stint in Dallas or trading for Sergei Zubov?— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) October 2, 2017
Relive both Defining Moments here https://t.co/V5mv486S6V
Friend of DBD Josh Lile breaks down the Stars’ 2017-18 projected lineup for DFW’s ABC affiliate. [WFAA]
ICYMI, the Stars have made their final roster decisions, assigning Jason Dickinson, Remi Elie and Roope Hintz to the Texas Stars.
They’ve also waived Patrik Nemeth and Curtis McKenzie with the intention of assigning them to the Cedar Park squad.
Curtis McKenzie and Patrik Nemeth have been placed on waivers with the intent to assign them to the Texas Stars. pic.twitter.com/gh7W6XPLuw— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) October 2, 2017
Around the league(s)
As Stars fans prepare for an opening night without Dave Strader, the visiting Vegas Golden Knights are in mourning for the (as of this writing) 59 dead and 527 injured in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
The Golden Knights are already planning fundraising and recognition efforts to provide relief for victims of the tragedy.
The Vegas Golden Knights Foundation will be making a significant donation towards relief efforts. pic.twitter.com/kxhSINo1Z3— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) October 2, 2017
The Calgary Flames are on the cusp of officially ending #JagrWatch with a deal potentially worth $2 million. (And yes, several people reminded Friedge in the comments that the Golden Seals are no longer a team.)
Jagr is done to CAL. $1M+$1M in bonuses. I think it might not be announced until he gets to the city, but there is a commitment.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 2, 2017
Can confirm @FriedgeHNIC report. Jagr is signing with CGY. Source said he felt comfortable playing under Gulutzan in DAL, which was key.— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) October 2, 2017
One reason for the delayed announcement: The Flames are reportedly still working on immigration issues with the Czech icon. [theScore]
Meanwhile, BarDown is ready.
From Mike Peluso and his disability lawsuit involving four separate NHL teams, to Steven Stamkos and what the Tampa Bay Lightning hope will be a huge comeback year: Luke Fox chooses the 31 people who will define the upcoming season. (Find out where Ken Hitchcock lands.)
And with final rosters due today, the Chicago Blackhawks await an NHL-ordered second opinion on whether Marian Hossa is eligible for long-term injured reserve.
I would be shocked if NHL report doesn't reaffirm original CHI diagnosis on Hossa. I'm guessing Hossa will be eligible to be put on LTIR.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 2, 2017
The Toronto Maple Leafs are waiting on a similar report for Joffrey Lupul, and the uncertainty about whether that $5.25 million in cap relief is available is already affecting the team’s roster decisions, writes Chris Johnston. [Sportsnet]
Toronto will likely learn Lupul's status tomorrow as well. He was expected to be evaluated by an independent doctor today. https://t.co/YEyX9WvYzp— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) October 2, 2017
Meanwhile, the ’Hawks have placed Michal Rozsival on LTIR. The defender failed his training-camp physical and is still suffering from post-concussion symptoms stemming from a sucker punch by the Anaheim Ducks’ Nick Ritchie last April. [NHL on NBC]
#Fancystats fans, rejoice – Corsica is back and better than ever, even if Emmanuel Perry does say so himself. [Corsica.Hockey]
Josh Bogorad shares this photo from the Stars’ locker room. The wall-size print immortalizes the famous salute to Dave Strader upon his return to the booth – now a permanent part of team history. Enjoy.