Red Wings News & Rumors: Klingberg, Varady & More

After a busy couple of weeks, things seem to have settled down for the Detroit Red Wings. They’ve made their picks in the 2022 draft, they’ve signed a boatload of free agents, and now fans and general manager Steve Yzerman can kick back and enjoy the summer heat before the World Junior Championship starts up next month.

Or so we thought.

It turns out the Red Wings are still busy trying to add to their mix. They added a new assistant coach this week, and word has it that one of the top remaining free agents may ultimately end up in Detroit. There’s much to digest this week, so let’s start with the main course.

Klingberg a Fit With the Red Wings?

In the most recent “32 Thoughts” podcast, insiders Jeff Merek and Elliotte Friedman suggested that the Red Wings were still “in” on defenseman John Klingberg, and that Detroit is “the ultimate destination” for him. This comes after the Red Wings have already signed three defensemen (Ben Chiarot, Mark Pysyk, and Olli Määttä) that will factor into Detroit’s defensive depth next season.

A 29-year-old defenseman from Gothenburg, Sweden, Klingberg is an eight-year veteran of the NHL, having played his entire career up to this point with the Dallas Stars. In 552 regular season games, he has 71 goals and 374 points. He recorded 47 points through 74 games last season, and his plus/minus rating of minus-28 was the worst mark of his career.

John Klingberg Dallas Stars
John Klingberg, Dallas Stars (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

While he was once the Stars’ top defenseman, Klingberg was recently usurped by Miro Heiskanen. With just $11.4 million in cap space and a couple of key restricted free agents to iron out deals for, the Stars seem set on moving on without the Swedish defenseman, who they drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 draft.

Related: Will John Klingberg Remain With the Dallas Stars?

Klingberg’s last contract was a seven-year pact signed back in 2015. It carried a cap-hit of $4.25 million, but his salary this past season was $6 million. At 29 years old, he still has plenty of money-making years ahead of him, so it is expected that he desires a big-money, big-term deal. Considering he is still a free agent a week into the market opening up, it’s fair to wonder whether or not that type of offer is out there.

Signing on with a team like the Red Wings would make sense for the 6-foot-3 defender. Detroit is known for liking Swedish players, and they didn’t receive much offense from the blue line last season outside of Moritz Seider and Filip Hronek. By adding Klingberg to that group, the Red Wings would boast a right side of the blue line that is filled with offensively-gifted players, all three of which could play a role on the team’s power play. Detroit’s defense would look something like this:

Ben ChiarotMoritz Seider
Olli MäättäJohn Klingberg
Jordan Oesterle/Simon EdvinssonFilip Hronek
Jake Walman (injured)Mark Pysyk/Gustav Lindstrom

There’s little doubt that Klingberg would be an exciting grab for the Red Wings, but it ultimately comes down to cost. What does the contract look like, and will Yzerman have to move somebody out to make way for the veteran defender?

Red Wings Hire Jay Varady as Assistant Coach

After retaining Alex Tanguay and hiring former San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner, it seemed like head coach Derek Lalonde’s staff was complete. However, the Red Wings announced on Monday that they had hired Jay Varady as an assistant coach as well.

Varady’s most recent stop was in Arizona where he was the head coach of the Tucson Roadrunners, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes. He compiled a record of 93-84-17, and led the Roadrunners to first place in their division during the 2019-20 campaign before the COVID-19 pandemic ended the season prematurely. He also served as an assistant coach for the Coyotes during the 2020-21 season before returning to the Roadrunners last season.

When asked about the experience he gained from that back and forth between the Coyotes and Roadrunners, Varady told

I think the opportunity to coach in the NHL and work with the best players in the world is a growth experience. You kind of learn what’s made them successful and how they’re able to remain successful in the NHL and try and translate that information back to the players here in the American Hockey League. For me, it was another great opportunity to work with a great coaching staff on the Coyotes, and some coaches that have done amazing things both as coaches and as players. Spending every day in a room with those people, you grow every day, and you get better every day and I think a little bit of that I try to bring into what we’re doing here every day in Tucson.

– Jay Varady

In his new opportunity with the Red Wings, Varady should receive ample opportunity to learn and grow while coaching at the highest level.


  • Former Red Wing Pavel Datsyuk turns 44 years old today. It was recently revealed that the former All-Star will officially announce his retirement sometime this summer. He last played for the Red Wings back in 2015-16. Following that season, he departed the United States and returned to his native Russia, where he’s been playing ever since. In 953 regular season games with the Red Wings, he had 314 goals and 918 points.
  • Yzerman recently revealed that defenseman Jake Walman had shoulder surgery at the end of the season and he will not be ready to go at the beginning of the season. After he was acquired from the St. Louis Blues in the Nick Leddy trade, he recorded four points in 19 games. He is currently a restricted free agent.


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