The Edmonton Oilers knew how much they were committing when they signed Oscar Klefbom to a seven-year contract extension prior to the 2015-16 campaign. Two seasons later, they are seeing that deal pay off.
Though Klefbom missed a significant amount of time in the 2015-16 season battling staph infection, he returned this past season and proved his worth. Not only was he a key member of the top-four, but he continued to grow and develop into a top-pairing defenceman.
In 82 games this past year, Klefbom finished with 12 goals and 38 points and was a plus-7. He also finished fifth in Lady Byng voting and skated a career-high average of 22:22 minutes per game.
Though he takes care of the puck and focuses on his own zone first, the Swedish defenceman has added a lot of edge to his offensive game. Klefbom has a booming shot from the point and knows how to make smart passes and plays. In fact, Klefbom has proven himself to be a huge asset on the power-play; the majority of his assists came on the man advantage this past season, as did three of his 12 goals.
With puck-moving prowess and potential, Klefbom has shown that in time, he can serve as a power-play quarterback and the top-four puck-mover they need. Plus, with his skill on the power-play, the Oilers have even more depth and ability to showcase on special teams.
Defensively, Klefbom is solid. He skates very well and always looks after the puck, and he doesn’t struggle with maintaining possession. This is evident through not only his play but analytics. His relative Corsi has been positive ever since he started playing in the NHL, and since 2014-15, his Corsi has remained over 50 percent. With Klefbom on the ice, the Oilers are likely in control.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound blueliner possesses the perfect frame for the NHL, though he isn’t big on physicality. Instead, he blocks a lot of shots and uses his stick-handling and skill to control the play. That, in the end, bodes well.
Overall, Klefbom shows great skill and upside and is on his way to becoming the number one defenceman on the Oilers roster.