Oscar Klefbom made his NHL debut last night in Minny. The early portions of the game were a train wreck, the kinds of moments that NFL Follies turned into a lucrative television factory. After that, the young man settled in and made some very nice plays—adept passes in his own zone, stepping up to break up plays in the neutral zone, mobile moments when everything went as planned, and even a lucky assist. 15 minutes, he survived, now it’s on to St. Louis.
Klefbom is the second member of the Oilers’ 2011 Entry draft to make it to the NHL, joining the Nuge. That draft has a few prospects still percolating (Dillon Simpson, Martin Gernat, Tobias Rieder, David Musil, Travis Ewanyk, Frans Tuohimaa) and may end up being MBS’ best draft (the current leader in GP is 2008, but 2010 and 2011 will eventually run right by).
We are in the Jim Dorey-Mike Pelyk-Ricky Ley phase of Oiler defense development. It went like this in Toronto: the guy everyone agreed would be the best (Pelyk) ends up being only average while the crazy one (Dorey) ends up being the best. The lesson here: find the crazy.
Klefbom joins Marincin at the front end of the Goldrush, I imagine we’ll see Gernat and Simpson and Nurse and maybe even Eklbad along soon. Sometimes a Musil will slide in (he’s the toughest in pro right now, Nurse will be when he arrives) there but this group will push out a bunch of mid-level guys soon. It’ll be like passing a house on the side of the road.
THE MARLIE MOB
So far this season, former Toronto Marlie players have eaten up a number of at-bats. Ben Scrivens, Mark Fraser, Will Acton, Ryan Hamilton have played for Edmonton in year one, and I still think Paul Ranger could end up in Edmonton. I like Scrivens a ton and have no objections to this type of movement (the coach knows these guys) but there is some danger here. Edmonton has drafted, procured and developed players in the AHL who are coming to the end of their contracts (Lander, Arco, Pitlick) and the team will need to make a decision on them. I think it’s important to see Pitlick (as an example) down the stretch and see if he might be the guy to take over the 4line RW job next season. And if there are more Marlies to come, let’s hope MacT aims higher, like Scrivens. That’s a helluva addition no matter where he comes from.
There’s chatter about Mark Fraser signing with the Oilers, I suspect that means the end of Belov here. With Ference, Marincin and Klefbom signed for next season, and Petry plus Justin Schultz RFA, Fraser would make six out of seven for next season. The club might send Klefbom down to the minors to start the season, but it’s getting mighty crowded for a blueline that we can all agree needs a great deal of work. Disconcerting? I’d say that’s the right word.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
- Ryan Batty, Copper and Blue. Klefbom’s debut, the win last night, Hall’s comments on Corsi.
- Mike Ringrose, Associate Coach of the Spruce Grove Saints and associate director of Vimy Hockey. We’ll talk Saints season (10 losses!) and teaching offensive skills.
- Corey Graham, Oil Kings PBP on TSN 1260. The club won a tight battle last night, and are on the road tonight.
- Jeff Hauser, Radio Hauser. We’ll talk NFL free agency, including what the hell is Dallas doing?
- Jeff Krushell, Krush Performance. Talkin’ baseball! and Rich Peverley.
10-1260 via text and @Lowetide_ on twitter. It’ll be a blast! Send your roundabout questions!!!!