Oscar Klefbom is entering the final year of his entry-level contract. The Oilers could wait until the end of next season to sign him, or Peter Chiarelli can extend his contract this summer at likely a lower cap hit.
I’d look at locking him up for a long-term deal this summer.
There are two ways to look at it.
You can sign him to a long term contract now, similar to Roman Josi’s $4 mill/year, or you can wait until the end of next season.
Josi’s 2nd contract was structured as follows:
He signed that extension on June 10, 2013 after his entry level deal had expired. He had played 100 NHL games when he signed his new contract. Klefbom has played 77 games.
Josi’s cap hit is $4 million over seven years, but his salary increased to match the expected increase in his level of play. I’m a bit surprised his agent agreed to go back down to $4 million in the final year of his deal.
There are pros and cons to the strategy of signing Klefbom this summer as opposed to waiting until next summer, but I believe there are more cons to waiting than their are pros. Klefbom is only going to improve. He brings all the attributes the Oilers haven’t had in a young D-man in a long time. He is big, strong, skates well, moves the puck well and is offensive instincts are underrated.
He can already break up a cycle in his own zone, something Justin Schultz can’t do and likely will never be excellent at, and he is only going to get bigger and stronger in the near future.
He could have a breakout season in 2015/2016 and then Peter Chiarelli will have to pay him substantially more next summer. Remember when Craig MacTavish wasn’t ready to commit to Jeff Petry and wanted him to sign a one-year deal and prove he was worth it? That strategy was a gross miscalculation.
Klefbom won’t be a UFA, so the Oilers won’t be forced to trade him and risk losing him for nothing, but I believe Klefbom will be worth more next summer than he is now.
He and Petry played almost the same amount of minutes in Edmonton last year.
1 ,073 18:12 93:52 1:35
Petry did face tougher competition at EV, but Klefbom rarely saw the ice on the PP, yet he scored 20 points in 60 games while Petry scored 15 in 59. Klefbom had 18 points at EV and Petry had 10. I recognize Klefbom had more offensive zone starts, but he has already shown more offensive upside than Petry, and late in 2013/2014, albeit very briefly, he had the most D zone starts of any defender. Craig Ramsay has trusted him from day one.
Klefbom is also only 21 years young this seasons and he had only played 17 NHL games prior to this season while Petry was 26 and had played 236 games.
I use the comparison because most recognize the Oilers didn’t evaluate Petry’s talent correctly. Will Chiarelli want to see more of Klefbom live in action next season, or will he feel confident in re-signing him based solely on video and the analysis/opinion of Craig MacTavish, Scott Howson, Todd Nelson and Ramsay and re-sign him this summer?
Those four are big supporters of Klefbom, and I know that MacTavish believed strongly in re-upping Klefbom sooner rather than later. Maybe he learned from his error in handling Petry.
I thought Klefbom played very well at the World Championships, and he played on the right side which is an added bonus due to the Oilers organizational depth chart being overloaded with left shot D-men.
If I was Chiarelli I’d look at locking him up this summer, and I’m curious to see what direction Chiarelli takes. I know he wants to improve the blueline, and the only way to do that is via trade since the UFA market is pretty shallow.
Will he want to see more of the 19th overall pick in 2011 before locking him up long-term, or will video and analysis of those who have seen him up close be enough for Chiarelli to sign him this summer?
I would try to get a long-term deal this summer. What would you do?
- It was only one game, but Darnell Nurse was a dominating force in his first AHL playoff appearance this year. His speed is clearly NHL caliber, but the biggest improvement in his game is how much more calm he is. His aggressive nature will be a welcome addition whenever he plays for the Oilers. I see value in playing in the AHL, and would have no issue if he starts the season there, but if he shows he is clearly better than his competition at Oilers training camp then he deserves to start the season with the big club.
- I’m really looking forward to the Hawks/Ducks series. Both teams have incredible star power up front, and both have very mobile defence. It is hard to pick against the Hawks because of their experience, but I don’t underestimate the Ducks. I hope it goes seven games.
- Speaking of great playoff matchups, the NLL west division finals between the Edmonton Rush and Calgary Roughnecks should be outstanding. These teams are evenly matched, and we’ll get to see the league’s two top-scorers, Shawn Evans and Mark Matthews. Game one goes is tonight at Rexall, and if you can’t go you can watch it on TSN2.
3rd Annual Karoake Contest…
Our 3nd annual King/Queen of Karaoke goes next Friday, May 22nd at On The Rocks.
If you think you can sing, or know someone who can get them to email a short 30 second to one minute video audition tape to firstname.lastname@example.org before Tuesday at 2 p.m. We will pick the top-10 audition videos, and they along with a few guest celebrity Karaokiers will battle it out on May 22nd.
This year’s winner will win $1,000 in cash.
Tickets are $35, with all the money going to charity, and with
your ticket you receive $45 in GCs from On The Rocks and Oodle Noodle,
as well as one drink when you arrive.
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