Oscar Klefbom is an interesting prospect. The Oilers drafted him in the first round out of the Swedish Elite League where he received just 8:22 in ice time per game. He looked very good against his peers, both in the U-20 World Junior Championships and in captaining Sweden's entry to the U-18 World Championships.
Scouting reports before the draft tended to play up his raw talent and offensive upside, while noting that he has some work to do on his defensive game. This review from Red Line Report in March is pretty representative of the group:
Big, smooth skating, and powerful with great vision and passing skills. Raw as hell on the defensive side of the game, but we'd take a chance on teaching him about his own end.
Okay, then. Offensive defender still learning how to defend well; that sounds like a lot of prospects. But here's the thing. Oscar Klefbom has 0 points in 27 games so far this season.
|Rank||Player||DOB||Drafted||Year||Ben ||Bruce ||DB ||Derek ||Jon||Ryan||Scott|
It's kind of bizarre. I know that points aren't the be-all and end-all of judging offense, but no points? For a guy whose strengths are supposed to be in the offensive zone? It's weird.
Part of that is opportunity. Klefbom's ice time with Farjestad has increased to 13:09 per game this season, so it's at least moving up, but that's still not very much (just eighth most among the team's defenders). I suppose the silver lining there is that he's probably not getting any power play time. Still, it's not like this is a club that refuses to play young players. Teammate Jonas Brodin is the same age, and he's played 17:41 per game.
Klefbom also suffered a few bumps early in the season. One was a skate to the thigh, which was then followed by one possible concussion, and another that was more definite. All of that before the middle of November! The best you can say here is that he came back quickly from all of those injuries, and none of them appears to be an ongoing concern.
So no offense with his club team, and not much in the way of ice time to go along with a few injuries. Yikes.
So how is this player in the top ten on every person's list. One big reason is draft pedigree. If you're selected 19th overall, you're usually pretty good, so the assumption is that Klefbom must be pretty good. The second big reason is how good the player looked in the World Junior Championships. Klefbom spent the whole tournament with Brodin on Sweden's top pairing, and the two of them were tremendous. He played so well that he was one of two defensemen selected to the tournament's All-Star team. Bruce McCurdy took the time to provide a detailed look at Klefbom during the semi-final game that's well worth a read if you missed it at the time. But if you're just interested in the conclusion:
Oscar is a work in progress for sure. Still, I emerge from this detailed viewing with a very positive feeling about this player.
Sounds a lot like the scouting reports before he was drafted. And that's what has him ranked high on our list. Klefbom has size, speed, and strength, and looks very good against his peers. But his game is still raw, and the result is that he hasn't won over the Farjestad coach whose primary interest is winning games. Perhaps more than any player on this list, Klefbom is well-regarded in our group because of his "tools". And I'll admit it... it makes me uncomfortable.