#3 Prospect: Oscar Klefbom

Winter 2011: #3
Summer 2011: #2

Pre Draft Story
  • Redline Report: Klefbom is a real Red Line favorite. He’s certainly the most overlooked of the top prospects, but is the best pure passer of the bunch, and his skating ranks only behind Murphy. He already makes pro style passes — crisp and with touch — and excels at breaking the trap with tremendous stretch passes through the neutral zone, showing great vision. He was also the natural leader on Sweden’s national under-18 team. All this comes wrapped in a 6-3, 196-pound package, and Klefbom has really stepped up the physical aspect of his game over the last 12 months. At Red Line, we believe he might ultimately become the best all-around balance of offensive upside and physical strength in this year’s class.
  • TSN (Grant McCagg): Captained Sweden to a silver medal at the U-18 championships, and appeared in 23 games for Farjestad in the SEL at 17 years of age. His stock rose as the season went on, culminating with his strong play at the U-18′s. Strengths – High character player who did it all for Sweden at the U-18′s, considered a warrior with tremendous leadership qualities. Good size and strength, reads the play well and will jump into the rush, good vision and passing skills, good compete level, likes to play physically. Weaknesses – Has a clumsy skating style, needs to work on quickness and lower body strength. NHL Upside – May develop into a top three NHL defenceman who takes care of his own end and sees some time on the second powerplay unit.
  • Corey Pronman:Oscar Klefbom is a very toolsy defensive prospect with considerable upside if everything goes right. He’s an above-average skater who at times flashes plus. Klefbom gets up to top speed very quickly with a powerful stride which lets him take off and jump into the rush and get back into defensive position if the play gets behind him. Klefbom’s puck skills are solid-average as he can carry the puck at a notable level when moving at top speed. He’s a decent passer, and while he has the potential to be an above-average distributor, the hockey sense and vision doesn’t seem to be there enough for him to be that player. He has a decent shot, although I haven’t noticed much bad or good in that aspect of his game. Klefbom has a good frame that has filled out nicely for a player born in late July at around 6’3″, 200 lbs., but he doesn’t really use his body much from a physical perspective though he can win some battles. I’ve also seen him make bad decisions when being physically pressured. Hockey sense is Klefbom’s major liability as it grades from 35-40. He doesn’t see the ice well, takes too long with decisions, his defensive game is suspect and he can get too overzealous at times with his offensive rushes and pinches.”
  • Kirk Luedeke: “Sweden’s top puck rusher is Brodin’s teammate in Farjestad and is a much flashier prospect because he zooms up the ice like he’s been shot from a cannon, fires the puck hard and plays a more aggressive, dynamic style. He may not be Brodin’s equal defensively or even in how he processes and thinks the game, but we love the way he activates at the right time and will jump into the play. When he’s on his game, he will attack defenses with speed and can gain the zone on his own. He instinctively sees the shooting lanes opening up and takes advantage- he’s not afraid to get the puck on net and likes to hammer it at the goalie as much as he can. Klefbom does have the vision and hands to hit his teammates with passes. If teams are looking for a defender who loves to rush the puck over your more classic puck mover, than Klefbom is their guy.”

You can see why the Oilers liked Klefbom, he’s a “perfect fit” for an organization that badly needs defenders with size, speed and a wide range of skills.

  • Stu MacGregor: “A big, great skating defenseman. A solid, two-way guy who moves the puck intelligently and competes really hard. We were really pleased he was there (with the 19th pick). We wanted to get a defenseman, especially one with size who can move.”

He was listed as 6.03, 203 around draft day, which is a good size for an 18-year old defender. Klefbom served notice with an effective 2010 Ivan Hlinka and then delivered well in all areas during his draft season (10-11)

  • SEL 23, 1-1-2 8:50TOI
  • WJ 6, 1-3-4

This year, Klefbom has been playing a little more in the SEL per game and hasn’t yet registered a point. Klefbom has posted crooked numbers at lower levels this season:

  • SEL 14, 0-0-0 11:19TOI
  • J20 10, 0-3-3

He’s back playing again and he’s likely to play a big role for Sweden at the WJ’s over Christmas. Oiler fans will get a chance to see him play up close, and get an idea about how the rangy blueliner goes about his business.

With Klefbom’s skills and ability to push the puck up the ice expertly, it isn’t out of the question to project him as a 20 point NHL defender eventually. Should he earn a powerplay opportunity, that number would of course matriculate northward.

INJURY

Oscar Klefbom has been injured three times since September 1st. Martin Lunden gave us the details on the first injury:

  • 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.

This was followed by a head injury during a rough practice a couple of weeks later. Again Lunden gives us the information:

  • Klefbom got a shoulder-tackle to his chin (during a tough practice four days ago) which caused him losing his helmet and bumping his head on the ice without protection and suspicions were that the hit might have left Klefbom with a concussion.

As it turned out, Klefbom was fine. However, in mid-November Klefbom did sustain a concussion in a game against Russia. Lunden was on top of this story as well, via Finnish report 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.

He’s back in action now. However, after suffering at least one concussion I’d say that injuries are enough of a concern for us to consider Klefbom less of a “blue chip” prospect than he was on draft day. Still the best defenseman in the system, and the concussion isn’t a giant cloud over his future.

It is a down arrow. That’s why he’s #3 this time.

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