Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Lisa McRitchie on 08/05/11 at 12:32 AM ET
Swedish defenseman Oscar Klefbom, selected 19th overall at this year’s NHL Entry Draft, missed the Oilers development camp held early in July due to a schedule conflict. The conflict was with the team he is currently under contract with, Farjestad of the Swedish Elite League.
NHL.com writer Adam Kimelman reported Wednesday that Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson and Gabriel Landeskog will all miss Sweden’s junior camp which takes place next week at Lake Placid, NY.
Landeskog and Larsson, according to Kimelman and likely agreed upon by most, are expected to be playing in the NHL during the time of the juniors. As such, their absence from the camp is somewhat expected. With Klefbom, there is still some mystery surrounding his absence.
Klefbom was team captain for Sweden at the 2010 U18 World Championships in Germany, and according to the scouting report had a strong showing. Likely, Klefbom would have a great chance of making the U20 team this year and is already listed as a member of the team.
Shortly after being drafted by the Oilers, members of the media had the opportunity to talk to Klefbom about his future development and goals. Klefbom was quick to state that he planned to play the remaining two years of his contact in Sweden, and Oilers’ head scout Stu MacGregor felt that this was a great option for the young defenseman.
The Swedish Elite League is an excellent learning and playing opportunity for Klefbom as it has been for other Oilers including Magnus Pääjärvi, Linus Omark and Anton Lander. Not only that, but Farjestad is the league champion of the SEL; Klefbom will have some excellent mentorship from his teammates and coaches.
Klefbom felt that with several Swedes already in the Oilers organization, making the transition would be easier, “Ya, a lot easier since there are already other Swedes over there. They are good guys and good hockey players.” Pääjärvi and Lander were teammates playing together for Timrå IK. Pääjärvi gave Lander regular updates on his experiences playing in Edmonton. Lander and Klefbom both played on the bronze medal winning 2011 Swedish World Junior team, it wouldn’t be surprising if Lander were to try to make Klefbom feel more comfortable with the transition to North America.
No matter where he plays this season, Klefbom’s progress will be of interest to many Oilers fans. After all, Klefbom received a variety of reviews leading up to the draft and as such, most fans don’t quite know what to expect from him, but we want to expect greatness.
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