Report: Oscar Klefbom Agrees to Seven-Year Extension

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It appears that Oscar Klefbom is going to be part of the Oilers for the long haul. On Saturday morning, TSN’s Ryan Rishaug reported that the defenceman had agreed to a seven-year contract extension with the team, with the deal to be finalized shortly.

This should be regarded as welcome news for Oilers fans, as Klefbom is a key piece of the team moving forward and he’s now signed long-term at money which will be very reasonable if he continues to develop as expected.

Welcome it may be, but it isn’t particularly surprising. Back in May, Jason Gregor suggested a long-term deal along the lines of Roman Josi’s contract in Nashville, while about a week earlier I’d suggested that Travis Hamonic’s lengthy deal would be a good comparable. Both of us felt this would be a good direction for the Oilers to go. Here’s how Gregor put it in his piece: 

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.

There is risk in this deal. Teams that signed good young defencemen in the past haven’t always received full value; the deals signed by players like Luke Schenn and Jared Cowen now look like overpays rather than the bargains they were supposed to be.

The difference with Klefbom is that—with the caveat that sample size is limited—he’s already a fairly legitimate top-four NHL defenceman. He’s one of those players who passes both the eye test (big, strong, fast, can take and make a pass) and the analytics test (his underlying metrics are gold). He’s done it mostly while playing with Justin Schultz, a player who doesn’t have a history of making his defence partners look better than they are. 

The structure of the deal suits the Oilers needs, too. Paying Klefbom $4.0 million in the near future isn’t a real problem, because cap space doesn’t really project to be a serious issue for the next few years. In the mid-to-long term, though, $4.0 million should be a bargain contract at exactly the time when Edmonton is facing a cap crunch. 

This is a risk, and Klefbom’s camp isn’t necessarily wrong to trade potential upside for the security offered by $28 million, but on the whole this looks like a very strong deal for Edmonton. 

Update:

That puts the full value of Klefbom’s new deal at just north of $29 million. 

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  • Train#97

    Wow! Not even a full year in NHL yet , and riding the coattails of Norris candidate Schultz (tongue in cheek) , he lands a lucrative 7 year 4.167 M /season contract . 2 goals , 18 assists = 20 points for 60 games but a -21 plus minus and Lady Byng PIM of 4 minutes . Sure pays well to be a hockey player . What’s the extra .167M he got – agents fee ?

      • YFC Prez

        In comparison to what Petry got , I like this deal much better . I can see why they did not bother trying to resign Petry @ 5.5M or more that he seemed to be asking . Let the Habs worry about that one . I look at Hamilton deal and think how much better that contract is than the one for Petry . Look at those two contracts , and Klefbom’s might be best of group in the end at a much better price .

  • YFC Prez

    Perfect signing. Worst case scenario is he does not improve any which means he is still a top 4 dman at top 4 dman price.

    Best case scenario is he is a top pairing guy in a couple years with a market value of over $7 mill.

    No risk, only upside on this deal.

    ” top 4 d man” on Edmonton is like a #6-7 d man on most teams though.lets be honest, our d is the worst in the league, or was last year. Our defence is a goalie killer! Wouldn’t dubnyek (sp) look good back there now after his season with Nashville

  • pkam

    Great Signing! 6’3″, 210 and 22 years old playing a top 4 D. He is only going to get better so even if he is a 3rd line D on the very best teams, he won’t be in a couple of years. This is FANTASTIC! The pieces are coming into place…..

  • Ndustry

    meh, too early. Trying to grab attention and to me it’s a sleazy tactic to yeild the type of play you want Schultz to exhibit. (Nurse and Reinhart as well). Why sign someone else to get these guys to play better? kinda sleazy.

    Klefbom is likely to be overrun in the depth chart by Nurse and Reinhart as well. He could be a good asset to have if you need to adjust the balance of the D and make a trade, but now he’s locked up for a term many teams might be uncomfortable with, especially if he doesn’t perform to where he’s projected to. He had a great AHL part season which led to a good NHL season, but the NHL season was not in a competitive atmosphere. I would have liked to see how he projects playing competitive hockey before locking him up for the term.

    The only benefit is you might get him at a steal of a price if he performs to where he might be projected to in 3 years. But if you like a guy why are you so eager to “underpay” him in his prime anyway? A bridge deal – which you could’ve waited to make – would give you a good idea on where his performance is actually at in competitive play, and then you give both the player and the team an opportunity to commit to each other at the most important stage. Right now your trying to take advantage of him in a business move as opposed to see if he is a) really worth the money and term, and b) if he is does he want to be on this team in his prime after performing well and c) When this D core balances out in terms of skill is he the best fit? or could he be used to trade for a player with a more complimentary skill set to what you need by then.

    Love Klefbom but this is kinda a sleazy move to motivate and rub in the face of other players (Schultz)and a business decision to manufacture culture in a predetermined notion as opposed to to cultivate and nurture the natural chemistry and atmospheres to evolve the growth giving a not so predetermined result that = culture. Their looking at culture and giving an answer as opposed to doing the work of cultivating and leaving the answer undetermined as culture is a result of the work. The work is the variable you can manipulate and this is sleazy work and the result will be shown in the culture that develops in a room where statements like that are made like this.

    Just to be a little cynical and harsh here lol!

  • Spiel

    At least they didn’t give him $42M over 7 years. 77 NHL games = 7 year guaranteed contract? Really? He has never played an NHL playoff game or a game of any meaningful quality (ie. playoff push) at the NHL level.