Among the defensive prospects in the Oilers pipeline, Oscar Klefbom offers the best combination of size, skill, mobility and defensive acumen. The multiple good arrows are somewhat offset by his increasing injury difficulties–which include a severe shoulder injury we’re just finding out about now.
The headliner for this story is Klefbom’s shoulder injury. Courtesy Jason Gregor and Oilers Nation:
- Steve Tambellini: “Well he got into a kind of funny position and just fell on his shoulder from what we understand. We know that Oscar needs to have a few more tests; our doctors are speaking with the doctors that take care of their club there. So it looks like he’s going to need some surgery, but we’ll make sure that we get all of the information first.”
Oiler fans are familiar with shoulder surgeries and their recovery timeline, so we can assume Klefbom will be ready for NHL training camp in 2013 fall. More of a concern though is the lost development time in a key season based on Klefbom’s age.
Summer 2012: #3
Winter 2012: #3
- Bob Mckenzie-21
- 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.
- Boxcars: 11, 0-3-3 +7
- Time-on-ice: 17:27
- D partner (Sanny Lindstrom) via twitter: “We will enjoy as long as we can have Klefbom in Swedish hockey.”
- Martin Lundén: “According to sources who’ve talked to Klefbom the Oilers have tried to persuade Klefbom, offering him a spot on the Oilers roster with guaranteed ice-time, a guarantee that the highly thought of Schultz didn’t receive (or so they say). Klefbom have yet to make up his mind, saying “it’s obviously a lucrative offer” that “makes you think” but “nothing is decided yet and I’ve asked them for more time to make a final decision”.
- Corey Pronman: “NHL GM on newly signed Oscar Klefbom. “Physically mature, great skater. Projects to play against best players and some offense.”
- 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.
- Nov 19/12: Steve Tambellini: So it looks like he’s going to need some surgery, but we’ll make sure that we get all of the information first.”
The most severe loss of time is the current injury. Only time will tell what kind of impact it has on his development, but Klefbom was a trending defender at the time of his injury.
With Smid, Petry and Justin Schultz in the fold, a rugged shutdown defender would be an outstanding addition. One who could wheel and move the puck up smartly would be a Godsend. Oscar Klefbom has many of the tools we associate with that player type, but from this point forward there’s a “but” that must follow the up arrows.
Oscar Klefbom’s injury history is officically an issue.
- December 2004: C Marc-Antoine Pouliot
- December 2005: G Devan Dubnyk
- December 2006: C Marc-Antoine Pouliot
- December 2007: G Tom Gilbert
- December 2008: D Theo Peckham
- December 2009: C Riley Nash
- December 2010: L Magnus Paajarvi
- December 2011: D Oscar Klefbom
- December 2012: D Oscar Klefbom
Ah, hell. Defensemen. Its such a bloody difficult position. Health is such a big issue and once things start falling off it seems like it is only a matter of time. Since summer, the Oilers have had three major injuries to their defensive prospects (Klefbom, Martin Gernat and Brandon Davidson), bringing back memories of Doug Lynch, Alex Plante and the hilarious life and times of Mathieu Roy.
And the guys who stay healthy–like Danny Syvret and Taylor Chorney–are just a little below good enough to grab and hold a big league job.
Klefbom should be healed by fall 2013, and we’ll get a good chance to see him at training camp. Based on his SEL play in those 11 early games, I suspect Klefbom will be in the opening night lineup.