According to Oilers head coach, Todd McLellan, Oscar Klefbom will miss the next two games to undergo a “minor procedure.” Could that lead to something more significant? That’s what the Oilers are trying to find out.
There’s been a lot of talk over the past week about just how healthy Oscar Klefbom is right now, and this announcement gives us a clearer picture of that. Todd McLellan added that this procedure and the resulting two-game break will give the Oilers a clearer picture of whether or not Klefbom needs to undergo something more significant.
For a while now, it’s looked like something is up with Klefbom as he’s been more tentative with his shot and defending in the corners. Needless to say, a shoulder injury would certainly affect both of those parts of his game. This past week, Elliotte Friedman talked about Klefbom’s health and wondered why the Oilers are playing him at this point in the season:
“It’s pretty clear that he’s been playing hurt. And players who have played against him say that he’s been really protective of his shoulder, the way he turns, the way he goes into the boards… he’s played pretty hard this year considering he has really been hurting.
Well, that’s weird. Why the hell would they be playing him then? It’s not like they’ve got plans for the spring, amirite?
“The fact that they haven’t shut him down, I think, that’s leading to some belief that they are showcasing him. If you want to trade something that can get you value in Edmonton, Klefbom might be the guy. And I think the fact that they haven’t shut him down when clearly he’s been playing with pain is leading to some wonder that he could be a guy that other teams are looking at.”
Personally, I hate the idea of trading Klefbom after a down year because the return is going to be less so I really hope Elliotte is wrong there. That said, this is the Oilers and trading guys after tough seasons seems to be their thing at this point. Rumours aside, it’s now clear that the guy was playing hurt and that the injury is affecting his game. Before Thursday’s game against the Islanders, Gregor asked Todd McLellan what was going on and he admitted that Oscar has been playing banged up:
“He’s been healthy enough to play. He went through a bad spell early in the year. He had a treatment that kept him out of the lineup for a while. He’s been good now for two months since he’s had that treatment, but it eventually wears off and that’s where he’s at right now.”
With the Oilers out of playoff contention and the season winding down, it doesn’t make much sense to keep playing Klefbom in meaningless games unless, of course, they’re showcasing him for a trade as Elliotte Friedman speculated. If that’s the case, the showcase took a significant blow as this injury and likely surgery could keep him on the shelf for months, likely bringing down the potential bids for his services at the same time. If you’re trying to trade Klefbom and actually get something good for him then doing it after a down year with surgery thrown in the mix isn’t likely the best path to success. On the flip side, if the Oilers aren’t trying to move him then getting him whatever needs to be done now and maxing out the recovery time is the smartest thing they can possibly do.
For Klefbom, I feel for the guy as this is the second time in three years that he’ll have to go under the knife. The last time around, the guy ended up with a staph infection that kept him out for basically the whole year so you’d have to think he’s a little gun-shy about getting back on the surgery table. For the Oilers, this is just the latest round in a series of kicks to the pills that they really didn’t need right now. As much as things went right last year, we seem to be getting the complete opposite this time around and it’s made for a painful season. Here’s hoping that Klefbom’s injury is not severe enough to impact his future but maybe enough to force the Oilers to reconsider trading him. Time will tell. Discuss.
KLEFBOM’S SEASON SO FAR
Source: Edmonton Oilers, Official Twitter Account, 3/10/2018 – 11:13 am MST