Abba. Ikea. Meatballs. Sensation Films. Sweden always seems to deliver something that gets the attention of their fans from across the pond. It’s no different in fantasy hockey, as the hockey powerhouse who has brought us Lundqvist, Hakaan Loob, and the Sedin sisters has introduced the fantasy hockey world to John Klingberg, defenseman for the Dallas Stars. Called up officially on November 8th, the 23 year-old blue-liner did not make his debut until November 11th versus Arizona, and the rest is the stuff of which fantasy legends are made. In 10 games, Klingberg has registered 3 goals and 5 assists, including this gem for his 1st career goal:
Side note: Strangis and Reaugh are a top-3 broadcast duo in my opinion
A 5th round pick in the 2010 draft (what is it with Dallas and their 5th round thievery? Jamie Benn, 5th round 2007), Klingberg was averaging over a point per game with the AHL’s Texas Stars before the mid-November promotion. With 3 multi-point games in his first 8, Klingberg was gathering steam on the waiver wire. His momentum appears as though it’s steadying out for the time being. He’s owned in 29% of Y! leagues, this past week he was added to 101 teams, but also dropped by 146. Here are a few factors that may be contributing to this:
- His shooting percentage currently sits at 25%: There is absolutely no way this continues. Mark Giordano, the NHL’s top-scoring defenseman with 25 points in 25 games, is scoring at a 10.7% clip. Klingberg and fellow Swede Victor Hedman are the only 2 defensemen in the top-20 in shooting percentage currently, so expect a regression to the 8%-12% range. That’s not necisarily a bad thing, as defensemen are volume shooters. He could still put 150 picks on net going forward, assists could be his calling card.
- Dallas’ defensive shortcomings: The Stars are a terrible defensive team no matter how you cut it. They are 29th in goals against (3.5 GAA/game), and they rank 6th in shots against per game (32.6). These numbers are recipes for disaster when it comes to individual plus/minus stats, and this could be scaring fantasy owners away from Klingberg. After watching a few Dallas games that he’s played in, I can understand the hesitation. He really likes to jump into the rush; a throwback offensive-minded blue-liner for sure. Again, not necessarily a bad thing. Allow me to explain.
- Watching Klingberg play: It’s evident he is not afraid to jump into the rush (think Erik Karlsson-lite). He is not afraid to make mistakes, either. While his penchant for offense is not conducive to defensive-minded hockey, we’re talking fantasy here! The more o-ffense, the better!
- Power play time on ice (TOI): Again, as was the case when I wrote about TJ Brodie and Sami Vatanen, power play quarterbacks are a hot commodity in fantasy. Through his 1st 10 games, Klingberg is averaging a solid 2:33 of power play time per game. Though Dallas ranks in the bottom third of the NHL in power play percentage, anytime a guy like Klingberg can hit the ice on the man advantage with the likes of Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, and Jason Spezza, only good things can happen. Although only 1 of his points has come on the power play, that number should increase as the season progresses.
The verdict: I highly recommend you take a shot on Klingberg. There is a lot to like here. Along with all the power play time he’s getting, Klingberg is on the ice for an average of almost 24 minutes per game. Stars head coach Lindey Ruff looks content giving him a long, hard look on his back line. So should you!
There are some good signs that he can somewhat keep up with his current pace. Along with the 2:33 of powerplay icetime, Klingberg is averaging 23:36 of TOI/game, so Dallas Head Coach Lindey Ruff looks content on giving him a long, hard look on his backline, so should you.
The Jofa helmet, the name, the flow…let us never forget Hakaan Loob! Long live the Swedish import!
Statistical credits: ESPN.com, NHL.com, Behindthenet.ca
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/DWnk6f
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Derek Gibson is The Sports Script’s resident fantasy hockey guru. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @Extra_Attacker!