Did the Leafs make a mistake by allocating $4.15M to John Klingberg instead of $4M to Matt Dumba?
BY RYAN SMITHERAM AUGUST 6, 2023 (7:43 PM)
Today, the Arizona Coyotes signed Matt Dumba to a 1-year deal worth $4M. Stylistically, Klingberg and Dumba are very different players, with Dumba approaching the game a little more similarly to Gudas than to Klingberg. Dumba plays a physical game and, while his offensive instincts are solid, he isn't on the same level that Klingberg is offensively, when Klingberg is playing at the top of his game that is.
Dumba certainly provides more of a defensive presence than Klingberg does, having a better expected goals against, better high-danger scoring chances against and a better on-ice save percentage for his team when he's out there. With that being said, however, the Leafs are aware of Klingberg's shortcomings defensively and brought him in to provide more offense from the blueline. Klingberg's goals for, expected goals for per 60 as well as his high-danger chances per 60 were better than Dumba's.
Once Klingberg was traded to Minnesota, his defensive numbers improved significantly as his goals against per 60 in 17 games with the Wild was 1.61 compared to well over 3 during his time with Anaheim. Additionally, his high-danger chances against per 60 and scoring chances against per 60 were much closer to Dumba's once he joined a better defensive team.
Klingberg had 33 points in 67 games last season while Dumba had 14 points in 79 games. However, Dumba also had 116 blocks and 104 hits compared to 84 blocks and 54 hits for Klingberg. Based on what each player brings to their new teams respectively, their contracts appear to be solid, albeit for different reasons. Dumba will give the Coyotes a stable and physical defenseman while the Leafs will hopefully get more offence from their back end with the addition of Klingberg, although the Leafs will have to find the right defensive partner for Klingberg to succeed and help mask some of his mistakes.
Given the fact that Treliving prefers a more physical brand of defenseman, Dumba seems like he would have been a more logical fit for the Leafs that are in need of more physicality from their defensemen. Perhaps Dumba had no interest in playing Toronto, much like what Gudas had expressed this week. Or perhaps the Leafs simply were worried about Dumba's ability to remain healthy. Whatever the result, I don't think the Leafs did too bad on the Klingberg deal and if Dumba was the backup option to Gudas and Klingberg, I wouldn't have been surprised at all.
*stats courtesy of naturalstattrick.com
IF YOU WERE BRAD TRELIVING AND YOU HAD TO CHOOSE BETWEEN JOHN KLINGBERG AT $4.15M AND MATT DUMBA AT $4M, WHO WOULD YOU TAKE?
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