OSCAR NOMINATION

Lowetide
May 11 2013 05:53PM

One of the things Oiler fans should look for this summer is massive overhaul and improvement on the blue. One of the key indicators may be where Oscar Klefbom ends up this fall. If he's in Edmonton as a top 6D, it'll be very hard to argue the rebuild is over and the turn north secure. Should he start in OKC? Best for player, best for team.

At age 20, Tom Poti was playing defense for Boston University in the NCAA. The next season, he was an NHL rookie with the Edmonton Oilers. He was so good with the puck that Poti made the jump, but he had major issues defensively and never did develop into the player expected when he arrived in the NHL.

Part of the problem for Poti was he'd never had to play in a game where there were men more talented; that changed in a quick hurry when he arrived in the NHL.

The Edmonton Oilers current blue features young Justin Schultz, who at age 22 made his debut in the NHL this season. Although it's clear that he's an outstanding talent, it's also true that the learning curve is a steep one even for a highly touted prospect like Schultz.

THE KIDS KEEP ON ARRIVING!

In the case of Oscar Klefbom, there's an added issue: injury. First, his most recent injury in the fall was serious.

  • Ryan DittrickBack on Oct. 9 in a Swedish Elite League game vs. Vaxjo, Klefbom was nudged from behind with what he deemed to be a “dirty hit,” sending him heavily into the boards. On the six-hour, through-the-night bus ride home to Karlstad, the defenceman experienced bleeding in the surrounding muscle and required the use of a sling.

All is well now according to reports but the young man hasn't played in months and has lost some valuable development time. The prudent thing would be for the organization to send him to OKC and wait for him to force his way up the depth chart, possibly earning a callup for an injury replacement or struggling regular.

I think Craig MacTavish put the Klefbom situation into perspective recently when discussing improving the defense.

  • MacT: "Klefbom is a guy everybody is anxiously awaiting to come into our lineup. It's always dangerous to have too high of expectations for a young player, but he's a very complete player for such a young player, so I think he's going to really help back there"

That's a very reasonable take, one that suggests he's going to have an impact, but also saying immediate results are unlikely.

IT WORKED FOR BRODIN

Klefbom (above) was a teammate of Jonas Brodin back in Farjestad, and Brodin's impressive NHL debut has some believing that Oscar can do the same thing. The problem with that idea is this: Brodin was paired with Ryan Suter, one of the NHL's best defensemen. I've read in several places (mostly Minnesota, though) that Brodin inspired the Suter turnaround this season. However, this graph indicates that Suter is far more effective without Brodin than with--which makes sense based on their experience and ability.

Still, that's an excellent pairing--veteran blue with rookie D--but surely if Edmonton acquired a "Ryan Suter" type they would pair him with Schultz the younger--still a developing talent and in need of mentoring.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

In the first installment of this series (Hartikainen--A False Spring?) we discussed the possibility that Harski doesn't deliver enough offense to merit NHL employment. The issue with Klefbom is twofold--experience and readiness--but the long term answer is far more promising.

There is little doubt Oscar Klefbom will have an NHL career. Only injury or a trade will keep him from being an Oiler.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#51 clyde
May 11 2013, 11:10PM
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Kevin wrote:

The further Klefbom gets away from Kevin Lowe the better.

Heard Lowe wants to take him under his wing and teach him how to do things right. Just kidding.

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#52 Trufflepig
May 11 2013, 11:33PM
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I heard Kevin Lowe smells like vinegar...

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#53 oilers2k10
May 11 2013, 11:46PM
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clyde wrote:

Heard Lowe wants to take him under his wing and teach him how to do things right. Just kidding.

Kevin Lowe knows a thing or two about mentoring if there was ever a concern!

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#54 OilLeak
May 12 2013, 12:06AM
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@Lowetide

Are you sure you're reading the WOWY chart for Brodin correctly? The numbers seem to indicate that Brodin's CF% is greater without Suter than with him and Suter's CF% takes a hit when not paired with Brodin. But hey, maybe I'm reading the chart incorrectly, if so then I need to shut up.

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#55 @Oilanderp
May 12 2013, 12:37AM
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Am I reading that Brodin played 700 out of his 800 mins with Suter? That chart is just difficult enough to read that I would have to spend more than 30 seconds in order to be confident in what I was getting from it. Unacceptable! :)

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#56 DonEnrico
May 12 2013, 04:40AM
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Kevin wrote:

The further Klefbom gets away from Kevin Lowe the better.

Oh no! That means that he stays one more year here in Sweden, and I don't want my team to face him!

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#57 NewfoundlandOil
May 12 2013, 05:08AM
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Nice to see the thread go all Kevin Lowe.

Makes for a stimulating read. Thanks guys! I think I actually prefer reading what DSF has to say.

Great article LT.

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#58 madjam
May 12 2013, 07:16AM
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6-8 new faces on parent club with 3-4 graduates from AHL likely. Gone probably Belanger (replaced by Lander ) , Whitney (replaced by Klefbom ) , Sutton (replaced by Marincin or Peckham ) , Khabby replaced by farm member (Roy ?) . Hordichuk and Eager gone and that totals six alone . Smithson and Jones would make 8 . I think I'll temper my enthusiasm/expectations for next season .

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#59 Oiler Al
May 12 2013, 08:05AM
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Lowetide wrote:

I think you start with Smid-Petry and Schultz the younger plus Nick Schultz. If the Oilers can add two defensemen to that group--real NHL defensemen--let's say Tim Gleason and Mark Streit--then that's a legit step up. I think the Oilers will have to make a trade, but the cap pressure for some of these teams may make some surprising names available.

Could one of Beiksa, Edler or Hamius be a surprising name? or will Canucks find enough cap relieve in moving Big Lou.

I really hope they find a way to obtain a top two pairing type player.Right now the OIlers don't have top two pairing.

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#60 Quicksilver ballet
May 12 2013, 08:32AM
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@Oiler Al

Have to think the Canucks would be hard pressed to fill out that roster, even with Bieksa and Luongo out of the picture. Only way the can rid themselves of this Luongo conundrum, is if they pretty much give him away, something that will still be very difficult to do with that contract.

We could see a rule breaking buyout here with Luongo. A buyout (new loophole) that doesn't conform with the rules in the CBA. It could suddenly appear out of nowhere and help the Lecavaliers/Luongos of this league, allowing Roberto to be moved and enjoy the rest of his career.

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#61 geno
May 12 2013, 09:32AM
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DSF wrote:

And you would be Howe.

"The talent that OKC Barons have graduated Petry, Schultz, Paajarvi, etc..."

That's a pretty sorry record.

You might to throw an elbow to make that group look great.

I'll take the Dallas D prospect group over that bunch any day.

Two bottom pairing defensemen (on a good team) and an AHL level forward is pretty sad.

aye aye aye. #trollcity

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#62 nunyour
May 12 2013, 11:15AM
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If the oilers draft Nurse,they would be looking pretty good on d in a couple years,a good older vet,mentor type might be best like a Regehr.

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#63 Czar
May 12 2013, 11:22AM
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Dub t wrote:

Start him in the minors on the top pairing with marincin. I don't care how good he is in camp, rookie seasons are roller coaster rides. Let him make mistakes in the ahl.

With the time he missed and the transition to the NA style of play, how can you argue with this. As spydr said "In the past too many players were given spots. Make everyone earn a spot." like most teams do.

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#64 Smokey
May 12 2013, 11:59AM
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TeddyTurnbuckle wrote:

Lets not forget Smid was a number 9 overall pick and Klefbom was 19 overall. Smid took 5 years to become an average defenseman so lets not get too high on Klefbom until he is making an impact at the NHL. The same people who are talking up Klefbom like he is a savior were saying the same thing about Anton Lander two years ago. Saying how he was part of the untouchable 5. Aka Bob Stauffer.

I never understood the Lander hype. All I've seen outta him is a third line ceiling, and that hes a undersized below average skater. He competes though which you must appreciate.

Klefbaum is a great skater and a good first pass guy. I truely believe we got a gem, if handled right.

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#65 15w40
May 12 2013, 12:41PM
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I have no issue with Klefbom in the minors if that's where he belongs.

I don't think you can just say he must be in the AHL no matter what. What does that say to the player.

Its no different than the veterans being guaranteed a spot. "Come to camp, play hard but no matter what you are going to the minors"

I'm not saying he needs to stay in the NHL for the entire season either but his position within the organization should be purely based on performance not on the pre-conceived notion that he isn't good enough.

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#66 dawgtoy
May 12 2013, 01:01PM
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@dougtheslug

+1, excellent work, thank-you!

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#67 Quicksilver ballet
May 12 2013, 02:10PM
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@dougtheslug

I'm torn on this Nurse issue. Are we better moving up and grab a Barkov or MacKinnon, or are we best to sit tight and wait a year or so for this Darnell Nurse guy?

Scrolls up to look at Ms. Hendricks again

We'd be in for hardly any roster changes going into next season taking Nurse and still be left without a 2nd line center. This could be the Oilers last opportunity to grab an elite potential player right from the apple tree, instead of having to pay dearly for one in a trade. Figure the top 10 selections in a draft should target elite potential offensive players, not these Nurse type players. What are we talking here for Nurse or Lazar, potential 3-5 blueliner and a second line best bet forward?

I think we should be selling the farm for an opportunity to select Barkov or MacKinnon. Especially with management appearing prepared to surrender one of the fab 5 for a top pairing blueliner if the opportunity presents itself. Can the group that's assembled here already afford to wait another yr or two for Darnell Nurse? The Oilers might be alright with what's in the system already if they can plunder a top pairing blueliner from someone, a guy who can contribute starting yesterday.

Scrolls up to look at Ms.Hendricks again

If Nurse is all that's hoped for in 3 yrs the Oilers will be okay, but if he doesn't, this pick is just another blown opportunity during what has obviously become a difficult rebuild. Maybe if the Predators are in love with this Darnell Nurse, they could be swayed to swap picks with the Oilers, then everyone goes home happy.

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#68 nunyour
May 13 2013, 06:42PM
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Enough flash,more crash for me.

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