The Montreal Canadiens were among the finalists to sign skilled defenceman John Klingberg according to Guillaume Lefrancois of LaPresse.
The interest peaked following the trade that sent Jeff Petry and Ryan Poehling to Pittsburgh in exchange for Mike Matheson and a fourth-round pick.
The Canadiens wanted to sign a right-handed defenceman to drive the offence, and Klingberg fit the bill.
“I had a lot of interest in Montreal,” said Klingberg to Lefrancois. “And I’d still have interest if the opportunity arises once again.”
Klingberg ended up signing a one-year, $7 million contract with the Anaheim Ducks, however, it’s worth noting he did ask for recommendations from former teammates that had spent time in Montreal, particularly Christian Folin and Jordie Benn.
“I only heard good things from them,” explained Klingberg.
Feels Like Home
Klingberg, who hails from Sweden, goes on to explain one of the most attractive aspects of playing in Montreal is the European vibe that tends to resonate with the vast majority of European players that visit the Bell Centre.
He eventually signed his deal with the Ducks a couple of weeks following the Petry trade, and despite hoping he’d see an uptick in offence, Klingberg has earned just three goals and seven assists in 27 games this season, a significant downturn in production compared to his previous seasons with the Dallas Stars.
🚨 Klinger for the lead!!
We lead 3-2! pic.twitter.com/8PgXmAPEYP
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) December 16, 2022
Klingberg also confirmed to Lefrancois that the door leading to the possibility of playing in Montreal is not yet closed.
Signing the 30-year-old defenceman would have indeed provided crucial reinforcements to a defensive group that was not expected to play with much confidence given their lack of experience. Still, seeing as all four rookies playing on the Canadiens blueline this season have surpassed all expectations, it’s hard to argue the Canadiens missed out in this particular case.
NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman mentioned back in August that the plan was for the Canadiens to sign Klingberg and eventually flip him to the Edmonton Oilers in a pre-determined sign and trade.
The Canadiens are still hoping to flip Monahan for yet another asset at the deadline, and thanks to his solid play since arriving from the Calgary Flames, he’s one of the most coveted players on the NHL trade market.