Klefbom the Charm

Edmonton Oiler fans have to be pleased with the performances of their "blue" at the World Juniors. By eye ("saw him good!") and by numbers these kids are delivering.

 

Going into the tournament we had a good idea that Oscar Klefbom would be the marquee story for Oiler fans. His draft pedigree (he’s a first rounder, part of the return for Dustin Penner) added to the fact that Klefbom plays in a very good league (Swedish Elite League, one of the best Euro leagues) suggest that he would be the best available Oiler on display at the WJ’s.

Klefbom has more than delivered. He began the tournament outside the PP and in fact played less in G1 than some of the older defenders with the game on the line. His first couple of games were solid and I think that may have contributed to the increase in playing time and some added PP opportunities (Klefbom was part of the PK rotation from the start).

Klefbom is 5, 1-1-2 +8 with 18 shots on goal in this tournament, and among the leaders in plus minus. My own feeling about him is that he’s very mobile and can carry the puck out of harm’s way or make fine passes, along with good defensive ability. He is the most complete defenseman drafted by Edmonton in many years based on draft profile and performace. He does not have an outstanding shot from the point, which may limit his PP time in pro hockey.

Sweden will play in the gold medal game this week, and Oscar Klefbom contributed to his team’s success.

WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER GUYS?

David Musil has impressed with his shot blocking, penalty-killing and endurance. Musil is perhaps the most savvy of the group in terms of hockey sense, with footspeed and puck moving ability getting a minus on his report card. Martin Marincin is a rangy Slovak defender (5, 1-2-3 E) who displayed a nice range of skills somewhat similar to Klefbom. The one area Marincin appears to have an edge on the Swede is edgy play–he’s a little bit filthy as a defensive player. He reads plays well, has an impressive wingspan and appears to be adding some bulk to his frame.

Martin Gernat (5, 1-1-2 -1) is a bit of a riverboat gambler and oozes confidence. He’s something of a bull in a china shop and you can see where his aggression can be both good and bad for a team. Gernat is raw compared to the other three, but my guess is he’s also the most offensively gifted of the group.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

You never know with any group of prospects and defensemen are even more difficult to project. The one thing we do know is that these four young defenders are on track and among the best in the world in their age group. For an NHL team that is dying for help on the blueline, these World Junior championships have been very welcome.

Stu MacGregor and his scouting staff are tracking very well with their defensemen, especially considering they’ve had one first round pick. I expect that changes come June.

  • RexLibris

    Some Flames fans were upset at the amount that Ray Ferraro was talking about Marincin and Gernat in the Slovakia game the other night. That tells me one thing, that they were having a good game/tournament. Now I can look forward to the day that Marincin lights up Baertschi in the middle of the ice the way Phaneuf and Regehr used to. What goes around…

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    Jeri Ryan AND Jolene Blalock??

    The nerds have died and gone to heaven.

    Live Long and Prosper Lowetide \\//_*

    *pathetic attempt at the Vulcan hand salute

    • book¡e

      I didn’t watch any of the games, nor did I read anything about them or look at any statistics, but overall, I was disapointed in Klefbom’s play. I also didn’t like the way the Canadian team was coached, was disapointed in the reffing in the games that Sweden played in, and thought that the quality of the hot dogs for the Denmark vs Finland game was substandard.

  • With the exception of the Sweden vs. Canada game in the pre-lims, I didn’t get to see Klefbom. Looking forward to watching the gold medal game with him in it (down to Russia). I have however seen a lot of David Musil…I can’t wait for that guy to get into the league…he can hustle despite his criticism for slow foot speed, but more or less doesn’t need to worry about that because he’s mostly in position all the time. He can clear the crease and block shots like crazy, and he reminds me a lot of Smid (this year’s version). He will play in the NHL eventually, we’ll see when, but I know he will.

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    I was really impressed with klefas skating and strength.Used his strength to several times come out of scrums with the puck.On his bonehead play he played the puck and missed it should have taken the man.Not uncommon for euro but it can be corrected.
    Near the end of game made several good offensive plays showing good acceleration with the puck and ability to jump into the play.

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    I saw Musil play 3 games in person here in Edmonton. He’s a big body and his positioning was pretty good. But the scouting reports are accurate because he is slow, very slow. We’re talking Ulanov or Daddy Musil slow. I’m not sure that’s an NHL player anymore.

  • book¡e

    I have been most impressed with Doug Hamilton…….this guy will be a premier defenseman in the NHL for many, many years.

    I was hoping that we could have moved up our second (first round) pick and got him.

    We do have some prospects that could pan out playing in the juniors, but in my estimation no one that comes close to DH.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    We’ll be fortunate if one or even two of these kids become mainstays on the Oilers roster. Why the Oilers would waste the 19th and the 31st selections last June on players the Oilers should be able to pick up at Walmart is beyond me. The depth chart is already full of potential 3/4/5 type D’men.

  • Dan the Man

    One thing I noticed about Musil is that while he isn’t the quickest guy out there he seems to be a very efficient player and is rarely out of position so I don’t think his lack of foot speed hurts him as much as it might hurt others.

  • Dan the Man

    The gold medal game was already played last night. Russia won it all.
    The next one is just a formality.
    The only problem with these great d prospects is waiting 5 years for them to turn into NHL players. I sure dont want to trade them.
    I’d rather sign a Spacek in the summer on a 3 yr contract to hold the fort.
    Hannan.

    • OBC'84

      Disagree on the Sweden / Russia game. In junior hockey, anything can happen, as we have seen. If I were Russia, I would play this game like a gold medal depended on it.