#8 - Oscar Klefbom In the Oilers Top 25 Under 25

Richard Wolowicz

Oilers' brass loves Oscar Klefbom, the comps look alright, so what's the downside?

If anybody’s throwing out defenceman Oscar Klefbom’s name as possible bait to get a high-end forward, it’s a total non-starter.

The Oilers love Klefboom and feel he can be an NHLer next season, with no pit stop in Oklahoma City.

They seriously feel Minnesota Wild rookie Jonas Brodin’s Swedish League (Farjestads) defence partner is top two material and the obvious long-term partner for Justin Schultz.

--Jim Matheson, Edmonton Journal

Rank Player DOB Drafted Alan Ben Bruce DB Derek JW Michael Ryan Scott
8 Oscar Klefbom
07/20/93 #19, 2011 7 9 7 11 8 8 7 7 8

Previous Rank: 8

Klefbom is stuck n neutral, having been ranked 9-8-9-8-8 since being drafted in June 2011. He's got a great pedigree and a fantastic scouting reports, but hasn't wowed anyone with his on-ice results.

His comparables are favorable as well:

Age Defender League GP G A P PM P/G
17 Adam Larsson SEL 37 1 8 9 41 0.243
17 Erik Karlsson SEL 7 1 0 1 0 0.143
17 Niklas Kronwall SEL 37 1 4 5 16 0.135
17 Victor Hedman SEL 39 2 2 4 44 0.103
17 Jonas Brodin SEL 42 0 4 4 12 0.095
17 Oscar Klefbom SEL 23 1 1 2 2 0.087

At age 17, Klefbom was a semi-regular in the SEL and except for games played, performed about as well other first round draft picks out of the SEL.

In the following season, Klefbom lost ground on all of his comparables due to a couple of concussions and a thigh injury:

Age Defender League GP G A P PM P/G
18 Victor Hedman SEL 43 7 14 21 52 0.488
18 Niklas Kronwall SEL 31 1 9 10 32 0.323
18 Adam Larsson NHL 65 2 16 18 20 0.277
18 Erik Karlsson SEL 45 5 5 10 10 0.222
18 Jonas Brodin SEL 49 0 8 8 14 0.163
18 Oscar Klefbom SEL 33 2 0 2 4 0.061
18 Lars Jonsson SEL 5 0 0 0 4 0.000

Klefbom's offensive output was a concern, but the reports of quality competition and high levels of skill kept everyone optimistic about his development arc.

In what was supposed to be his breakout season, Klefbom was again shut down early, this time due to a season-endling shoulder injury and subsequent surgery:

Age Defender League GP G A P PM P/G
19 Erik Karlsson NHL 60 5 21 26 24 0.433
19 Oscar Klefbom SEL 11 0 3 3 2 0.273
19 Victor Hedman NHL 74 4 16 20 79 0.270
19 Niklas Kronwall SEL 48 5 7 12 34 0.250
19 Jonas Brodin NHL 45 2 9 11 10 0.244
19 Adam Larsson NHL 37 0 6 6 12 0.162
19 Lars Jonsson SEL 31 2 1 3 12 0.097

His numbers certainly perked up, but when you consider that four of his peers were already in the NHL by this time, the shine comes off of the offense.

So where does Klefbom go from here? His peer group kicked it into high gear:

Age Defender League GP G A P PM P/G
20 Erik Karlsson NHL 75 13 32 45 50 0.600
20 Niklas Kronwall SEL 50 5 13 18 46 0.360
20 Victor Hedman NHL 79 3 23 26 70 0.329
20 Lars Jonsson SEL 21 0 0 0 12 0.000

Both Brodin and Larsson will play significant roles for the Wild and Devils in 2013-14.

Can Klefbom catch up? dawgbone on the matter:

Oiler fans have already seen a couple of first round picks go through serious injury issues and fail to live up to expectations. I'm not saying Oscar Kelfbom is going to be Marc-Antoine Pouliot or Alex Plante, but 2 major injuries in 2 years is worrisome. These are important developmental years and it hurts to waste them by spending time just to get back to the level you were at a couple of months ago.

And this is what Klefbom's future comes down to. Has he had enough development time to polish his game and make an impact? db mentions two injuries, but with the thigh, shoulder and concussion issues, Klefbom is actually on the far side of four major injuries and he's still just a kid. If he can overcome the stunted growth curve and stay healthy, all of the scouting reports say he's got a very bright future ahead of him. But dawgbone nails it:

These are important developmental years and it hurts to waste them by spending time just to get back to the level you were at a couple of months ago.

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