John Klingberg believes a new voice in the room could be just what he needs to help take his game to the next level.
The Dallas Stars defenseman has already played under two coaches in only four seasons in the NHL, and will soon skate for his third bench boss in Jim Montgomery when training camp opens next month.
But Klingberg believes Montgomery, who is making his NHL debut after spending the last five seasons at the University of Denver, can help round out his game.
"I want to be 'the guy,' sure," Klingberg told NHL.com's Mike Zeisberger. "But if I'm going to be a true, true No. 1, I have to play more defensive minutes. That's maybe something I have a chance to do this year. I want to take that next step and prove to the coaches that they can trust me defensively as well."
While Klingberg has been no stranger to scoring, wrapping last season with 67 points, he's often been criticized for his apparent flaws in the defensive end. That point was driven home when Klingberg, who finished one point shy of the league lead for points by defensemen, finished a distant sixth in Norris Trophy voting, receiving just a single first-place ballot.
The 26-year-old led all Dallas defensemen with more than 24 minutes a game, while averaging more than three minutes nightly on the man advantage. However, he was infrequently called upon for more defensive assignments, as his ice time on the penalty kill ranked seventh among Stars rearguards.
Furthermore, Klingberg received plenty of favorable ice time last season as he started nearly 55 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone. Only 18 defenders (less than one per team) exceeded that number, while the next closest Stars defenseman trailed Klingberg by more than three percent.
As the blue-liner looks to build his game, he had the opportunity to share his ideas with Montgomery, who spent some time in Klingberg's native Sweden to not only meet the defenseman, but also better familiarize himself with his new lineup. In all, it appears the brief introduction went over well.
"The great thing is, the coach knows what I think and I know what he thinks," Klingberg said. "We're already a step ahead of the game."