Inside how John Klingberg ended up with Wild at trade deadline

CALGARY, Alberta — John Klingberg knew the Wild were interested. He got official word from his agent roughly 72 hours before the trade deadline.

That intrigued Klingberg, 30, especially considering he had already put the Wild on his 10-team trade list that he submitted to the Anaheim Ducks a month and a half ago.

Though he very much expected to be moved at some point on Friday afternoon, Klingberg admitted he wasn’t sure what to think when the trade deadline passed.

“I was a little bit nervous,” Klingberg said. “I still hadn’t heard from my agent.”

Naturally, a few minutes later, Klingberg’s phone lit up with a notification. He hurriedly opened the text message and got the news he’d been hoping for all along. He had been traded to the Wild.

Not long after that, general manager Bill Guerin called Klingberg to welcome him to the team.

“We’re really excited,” Guerin told Klingberg on the phone. “We’re in Calgary, and we’re playing them tomorrow, so we’d like to try to get you in tonight.”

As soon as he hung up, Klingberg started to pack up his life, or at least as much as he could on such short notice. He had a flight out of Los Angeles a few hours later, and after a brief delay, arrived at the hotel in Calgary around midnight.

He said he actually got a pretty good night’s sleep and joked that he planned to sneak in a long nap before the game.

As for the game itself, yes, Klingberg was slated to be in the lineup when the Wild took on the Flames. He skated alongside Jon Merrill on the blue line, and most notably, replaced Calen Addison as the point man on the No. 1 power play. The hope is that Klingberg can bring some offense to the lineup without sacrificing too much on defense.

“It has been kind of a tough season,” Klingberg said in reference to his 24 points (8 goals, 16 assists) in 50 games. “I’m very excited to get kind of a fresh start here. Just go in and try to play my game and not try to chase offense too much. I’m going to try to let the game come to me and take it from there.”

As productive as Klingberg has been offensively throughout his career, the biggest knock on him has been his ability defensively. Let’s just say analytics aren’t pretty.

Luckily for Klingberg, the Wild are among the best teams in the league when it comes to locking down in the defensive zone. That might explain why he was so interested in the Wild from the onset.

“This is where I wanted to come,” Klingberg said. “I think my role fits good within the team, and I think the defensive structure is going to help me as well.”

Now that Klingberg is with the Wild for the stretch run, he expects his family to return home to his native Sweden for the time being. It’s the best option for them with so many moving parts on the heels of the trade deadline. Plus, it allows Klingberg to focus on what’s going to be a sprint to the finish with his new team.

“I’m happy it worked out,” Klingberg said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

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