August is just around the corner and the top defenseman on the free agent market still hasn’t signed. John Klingberg was ranked fifth on our Top 50 UFA list two weeks ago but he sits without a contract or a team for 2022-23. Now, likely due to frustration from how things have played out, Klingberg is changing representation. Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff reports that Klingberg has parted ways with agent Peter Wallen and will now be represented by Newport Sports Management. PuckPedia adds that Craig Oster, one of the sport’s most influential agents, will take the lead for the free agent defenseman.
Oster has recently been responsible for several long-term extensions, including Matthew Tkachuk, Robert Thomas, Joshua Norrisand Kevin Fialaand has other high-priced clients like Brady Tkachuk, Erik Karlsson, Mark Stoneand Thomas Hertl. In fact, his roster compares favorably to just about every other agent in the business and is a logical step for someone looking to score a big free agent contract.
Klingberg, 29, has reportedly been looking for a massive extension for months now, leading to frustration and trade speculation throughout the season. Renaud Lavoie of TVA sports tweets that at the start of free agency, the former Dallas Stars defenseman was looking for a seven-year deal with an average annual value of around $6MM. Landing something like that at this point in the summer might be tough but not impossible, as several teams still have the capacity to add that kind of salary.
Still, with Klingberg set to turn 30 in a few weeks and his game still carrying some of the defensive warts it always has, committing that kind of money to him would be a tough decision for any team. While his offensive production is still excellent—he registered 47 points in 74 games this season—a commitment of that length would carry a substantial risk for teams looking to contend.
It remains to be seen whether this change will lead to a quick resolution, or if Klingberg will need to wait even longer to find out where he’s playing next season. At any rate, he has one of the biggest agencies in the business behind him now.