By Peter Bolt
John Klingberg is one of the best defensemen in the NHL and does not get the credit he deserves at all. The 2010 5th round draft pick currently leads defensemen in assists (50) as well as in points (57). The Swedish defensemen is often overlooked by big names such as Drew Doughty, Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, and P.K. Subban. As a point of reference, lets compare some stats between these established star defensemen and John Klingberg:
Klingberg: GP-70, G-7, A-50, +/- (7)
Doughty: GP-70, G-9, A-39, +/- (17)
Karlsson: GP- 64, G-8, A-46, +/- (-26)
Burns: GP- 69, G-10, A-43 +/- (-18)
Subban: GP-69, G-15, A-35, +/- (15)
What these numbers mean:
What is one thing that all these star defensemen have in common? They don’t miss any games. Of all the defensemen listed above, Erik Karlsson is the only one to have missed any games this season. Klingberg seems to be hanging in so far. Klingberg does have the fewest amount of goals amongst these top names, but not by much. Other than Subban with 15, Klingberg is neck and neck in scoring with all of these established names. Only 3 goals separate Klingberg, Doughty, Karlsson, and Burns. Klingberg runs away in the assist category. Besides Erik Karlsson who has only 4 less assists and has played 6 less games, none of these other defensemen are really that close. Now on to plus/minus. Karlsson and Burns both get killed in this category. I’ll give Karlsson a bit of a break given the circumstances in Ottawa, however, I can’t find an excuse for Burns to be a -18. Both Doughty and Subban have better +/- by a decent amount, but Klingberg is not too far behind.
My point in all of this is not to make the point that Klingberg is the best defensemen in the league, but rather to compare him to some of the top defensemen in the National Hockey League. I rarely see Klingberg being talked about by any NHL analyst and he deserves to be. Even the most average sports fan will know who P.K. Subban is, but almost for sure not know who John Klingberg is. Klingberg is already an Alternate Captain for the Dallas Stars at 25 and is part of the bright future in Dallas. Why does the NHL never market or praise this young Swedish stud? That I do not have the answer to.
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