For the first time in ages, the ‘future is now’ will be replaced by ‘he’ll be here as soon as he’s ready’ in regard to the Oilers top end prospects. For Oscar Klefbom, the time in OKC is probably fewer than 50 AHL games.
NHL RE 13-14: 20, 0-3-3
They took him #19, Redline loved him at #11.
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.
Even more encouraging, new GM Craig MacTavish fairly gushed about him in the spring:
- MacT: “Klefbom is a guy everybody is anxiously awaiting to come into our lineup. It’s always dangerous to have too high of expectations for a young player, but he’s a very complete player for such a young player, so I think he’s going to really help back there”
- More MacT: “It’s never a bad thing to get a little of experience in the American Hockey League, but he’s very, very close because he did play last year against men (in the Swedish Elite League) for a short period of time before he got hurt.”
In coming up with this RE, I’m guessing Klefbom will be a little rusty after the long layoff, and his timing will take more than a dozen games to come back to level. That delay is likely enough to get him some time in the minors, and at age 20 (his birthday was July 20th) there’s no shame in spending the rest of 2013 in Oklahoma City. It’s interesting to see the number of AHL games played by recent Oiler-drafted defenders before their elevation to the NHL:
- Matt Greene 26 games (graduated age 22)
- Jeff Petry 49 games (graduated age 22)
- Theo Peckham 143 games (graduated age 22)
Now. Please understand this is my guess about RE. There is every chance Klefbom blows everyone out of the water and he has one fan in the corner office.
- MacT: “In the course of what I was doing this year early, I took a trip to Farjestad to watch Oscar. I went in there with one of our Swedish scouts, Pelle Eklund, and it was one of those games where I walked in, sat down, watched warm-up, Oscar came on the ice. The team that they were playing, Modo at the time, dumped the puck in the corner. Oscar pivoted and went back hard and fast for the puck. He fought off a pretty physical forecheck, turned to the back of the net, made a movement of the puck, a simple play, a direct pass up to the wall. That player subsequently turned the puck over. Oscar closed the gap in a hurry in the corner, used his stick, finished his check, knocked the guy off the puck, spun the other side of the net and moved the puck out. I turned to Pelle at the time and said, we can pretty much pack up our briefcase right now and get outta here, I’ve seen enough. I’m always a little bit skeptical when I hear very positive things without having seen them myself. I wanted to spend that trip, get over, take a look at Oscar and we have high hopes that he’ll be a part of our team very quickly. Whether he needs some time, we like to think that all players are benefited from some sort of time in the American Hockey League. Oscar, having played with men this year, might be an exception, but that will be determined at training camp for him.”
Folks, the ETA is in some doubt, Dallas Eakins has a lot of options that are similar in terms of talent level at this time. Some, like Nick Schultz, are on the downslope but have miles and miles of NHL experience. Others, like Oscar Klefbom, have barely hit the blacktop but have tremendous potential and should pass many of these veterans in the next several months.
There can be NO doubt about Oscar Klefbom’s future in this organization. We can safely place him alongside Justin Schultz, Jeff Petry and Darnell Nurse as the future in Edmonton on the blue. Oscar Klefbom is inner circle Edmonton Oiler.