ST. PAUL, Minnesota — The Edmonton Oilers growing Swedish contingent swelled by another player Friday with the selection of defenseman Oscar Klefbom 19th overall in the first round.
With prospects like Jamie Oleksiak and Mark McNeill snapped up in the previous handful of picks by Dallas and Chicago, the Oilers opted for the six-foot-three, 205-pound blueliner from Farjestad.
Klefbom, who was ranked No. 6 among European skaters by CSS, is no consolation prize, though, as chief scout Stu MacGregor and his staff had their sights on him coming into the draft.
"A big, great skating defenseman," MacGregor said. "A solid, two-way guy who moves the puck intelligently and competes really hard.
"We were really pleased he was there (with the 19th pick). We wanted to get a defenseman . . . especially one with size who can move."
WILL FEEL AT HOME
Klefbom, who doesn’t turn 18 until July 20, joins countrymen Linus Omark, Magnus Paajarvi and Anton Lander as part of Edmonton’s growing organizational stable of Swedes.
That won’t hurt an always trying transition when it eventually comes time for Klefbom to make the jump to North America.
"Of course, it’s a lot easier if there’s already Swedes over there, so that feels really good," Klefbom said. "Anton Lander is a great guy. I’ve talked to him many times."
There was a lot of talk going into the first round GM Steve Tambellini would try to move up to get a second high pick, and that the 19th pick would be a bargaining chip in that attempt, but no deal materialized.
"Steve was very busy. He’s been very busy all week with a lot of different opportunities," MacGregor said.
"We tried on a number of occasions. We were trying to make a deal there and then Toronto made a deal and that kind of took us out of a deal with Anaheim. He was working the phones. He was trying to get things done."
WHAT ABOUT SMYTH?
The Ryan Smyth deal with Los Angeles for Gilbert Brule is done. Yes, it is. No, it’s not. Take your pick.
Either way, there’s still no confirmation from the Oilers, despite plenty of buzz the deal is done, that Smyth is poised for an encore in Edmonton. Perhaps they’ll get around to making it official Saturday.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.