SHOULDER THE LOAD

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Today’s deadline deal that sent away Nick Schultz opens up a big league job for a left defender. Oscar Klefbom was to receive the call today, but suffered an injury and his NHL debut is delayed.

BOXCARS

Statistically, Klefbom has shown progress in his first pro season. If we split his season in half, it’s easy to see the progress:

  • Oct-Dec: 27, 0-3-3 -10
  • Jan-Mar: 18, 1-5-6 +1

That’s progress! Recently, Jonathan Willis wrote an interesting item on Klefbom and I think pointed us to the reason why the Oilers want to see Klefbom now.

  • Willis: Klefbom    has been the third most-impressive AHL blueliner, and his
    numbers back that up. He’s been playing mostly on a pairing with David
    Musil too, so his results have not been goosed by having a
    difference-making partner. He’s almost the exact opposite of Fedun as a
    player: Fedun has average speed, below average size, but computes the
    game brilliantly while Klefbom’s extremely fast and has a pro frame but
    gets in trouble because his decision making could be better.

I spoke to Jason Strudwick about Klefbom today, and he mentioned something that benefited him when he was Klefbom’s age, gave him an indication about how much was still to be done: a game in the NHL.    


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Klefbom’s injury history is growing, and word today (from MacT, and vague) about another injury is a concern. He’s missed time this season and lost most of last season to injury back in Sweden. Klefbom’s injury history is fairly long for such a young man:

  • Sept 2/11: Swedish Oil: Klefbom was unlucky enough to get cut on his thigh by an ice skate, the wound was sewn with ten stitches, and when the stitches were removed there was an infection. Now Klefbom is on penicillin which also prohibits him from playing. 
  • Nov 14/11: Sami Hoffrén: Klefbom was hit to the head by a Russian forward and he had to leave the game. Didn’t play in the tournament after that hit. I assume Klefbom suffered a concussion.
  • Oct 9/12: he lost his season to a shoulder injury.     Oscar Klefbom: “It
    happened on Oct. 9 playing against Vaxjo,” Klefbom said. “I dumped the
    puck in the offensive zone and I got a small hit from behind and I lost
    my balance and I flew into the boards. I had to catch myself with my
    left arm. Afterwards, I couldn’t feel my arm, it was like a dead arm. I
    didn’t know what happened.”
  • Sept 12/13: Oilers announce they are following concussion protocol after Klefbom is injured in the U of A game.
  • 2013-14: He spent various portions of the season out of the lineup with injury. 

Injuries are now a pretty large issue with this player—not Pouliot-level yet—and he hasn’t played his first NHL game.

THE LATEST

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This is unwelcome news. It’s important not to overreact—MacT’s word and tone didn’t suggest anything major and Klefbom finished the game—but it’s worth noting as the news cycle winds down for the day.

Oscar Klefbom has been on the horizon for a couple of years now, and the injury concerns have been marching in lock step. We wait for more information on Klefbom. 

(photos by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved)

  • Zarny

    Yes, Klefbom should be given a taste of the NHL to close out the season to both evaluate him and provide first hand experience at the NHL level.

    Long term however, I echo the sentiments that some of the Oilers D prospects need to be packaged to fill holes in other areas.

    First, it would be an unmitigated disaster to plan for a blueline in 1-2 years that includes Petry, Schultz, Marincin, Klefbom, Nurse and maybe Ekblad. Petry would be the only D with more than 400 games experience. 4 of the D would have less than 160 games experience. Losing for another 4-5 years would be the only result.

    Second, Nurse, Marincin, Klefbom and several other prospects all play the left side. If Nurse projects to be a top pair D that leaves Klefbom and Marincin fighting for the same spot on the 2nd pair.

    Third, you have to be realistic about what the Oilers actually have. Klefbom has 9 pts in 45 AHL games. Marincin only has 7 pts in 24 AHL games. Justin Schultz, for comparison, had 48 pts in 34 AHL games last season .

    So the concerns that Klefbom or Marincin will turn into top pairing D on another team are unfounded. They both project to be 3-4 D not top pair. One is likely part of the long term solution but they are redundant assets.

    Whether it’s at the draft, over the summer or after next season one of Klefbom or Marincin and possibly Gernat, Musil or Simpson should be packaged and moved to fill other holes.

    Unless you want to see the same disaster we’ve seen playing young forwards prone to making mistakes with other young forwards prone to making mistakes repeated on defense.

    Only it will be uglier since the D is the last line of defense and the first line of offense coming out of your own zone.

  • Word to the Bird

    As the years go by, I’m starting to lean towards the trade Klefbom camp. With the Oilers almost CERTAINLY picking #1 or #2 this year, the pick will most likely be spent on Ekblad. If that is the case, Ekblad immediately passes Klefbom on the prospect depth chart. With Marincin, Schultz, Nurse, and Ekblad as a potential top 4, that is an extremely young defensive core. A more veteran presence would be needed on defense. Considering the pedigree of Schultz, Nurse, and Ekblad, and the experience that Marincin already has, not to mention the increasing concern for injury associated with Klefbom, that makes him the odd man out. Trade Klef in a package for some centre depth, preferably a two way forward in the mold of Dubinsky.

    Also, when MacT said he was going to make some “bold moves”, I don’t think what he meant was a full identity change. (See Hall, Taylor or Nugent-Hopkins, Ryan) I believe what he meant was more Tyler Myers, Keith Yandle types for Yakupov or Eberle.

  • 2004Z06

    GREAT GAME MARK FRASER!!!! Please lock this gentleman up for at least 3 more years MACT! He is a perfect 5-6-7 D! He even scares me in the warm up! HE LOOKS TOUGH AND IS TOUGH AS NAILS!!!!!!!! GO MARK FRASER!!!!