According to multiple sources, the Montreal Canadiens have signed unrestricted free agent Kyle Klubertanz, a puck-moving defenceman who had a breakthrough season last year in the Swedish Elite League.
Klubertanz, who represented the United States at the 2003 U18 tournament, was initially drafted out of the USHL by the Anaheim Ducks in 2004, and went from there to the University of Wisconsin, where he played four years. He put up decent offensive numbers in his time in NCAA hockey, but never progressed to a level where the Ducks were willing to sign him; he played a grand total of five games for the Duck’s’ AHL team.
Cut lose, Klubernatz moved over to Europe, spending 2008-09 with TPS Turku in the top Finnish league. He put up 12 points in 51 games, but played well enough to attract interest from SEL team Djurgarden for this last season.
It was Klubertanz’s performance with Djurgarden that revived dormant NHL interest; he tied for second on the team in scoring, potting 12 goals and finishing with 31 points in 55 games played. The scouting report on Klubertanz suggests he’s a power play specialist, and a quick glance through the plus/minus of Djurgarden’s defence corps seems to support that:
- Andreas Holmqvist: +22
- Marcus Ragnarsson: +15
- Timmy Pettersson: +5
- Kyle Klubertanz: –2
- David Printz: –2
- Alexander Deilert: –5
It’s a good bet that Klubertanz will at least start next season with the Hamilton Bulldogs, but his numbers this year in Sweden suggest he might be able to contribute at the NHL level, as long as he’s kept in a limited role for the time being. At 24 years of age, Klubertanz is a late bloomer but there is still time for him to grow as a defenceman.