by Lisa McRitchie on 06/12/12 at 10:10 PM ET
We’ve know it was coming, but we didn’t know it would take this long. Steve Tambellini made the trip to Sweden seemingly to sign Oscar Klefbom nearly two months ago, but it wasn’t until Tuesday afternoon that the deal was made official. Drafted 19th overall in the 2010 NHL entry draft Oscar Klefbom is now signed to a three year entry level contract with the Oilers and will count against next season’s (if it happens) list of 50 professional contracts.
But don’t get too excited yet Oil Country, Klefbom has another year on his contract with Färjestad of the Swedish Elite League and has always said that he intends to play out his contract.
“I explained to him (Tambellini) that I really enjoy working here and what the situation looks like in Färjestad, when Frögren, Sevc and Berglund disappears, it favours me. I’m going up a few notches. We agreed that I would stay another year here (in Sweden, with Färjestad), it will do me good, there’s no stress. Edmonton want me to go over to a camp so I that I will feel more like a part of the team and get to meet all the big stars like Taylor Hall and the others. We’ll see when it gets, it also depends on what Färjestad allows me to do. The club has some real big stars emerging at once and also got a new first choice in the draft this summer. I feel like the timing signing with them and going over there will be perfect” Klefbom said in April (courtesy of Martin Lundén)
And so long as Klefbom is playing big minutes in Sweden, the Oilers amateur scouting and player development staff don’t mind if that’s where he plays this season.
On his draft day, Klefbom was adamant that he had 2 years on a contract in Sweden and that he intended to come over afterwards. Speaking to head of amateur scouting Stu MacGregor, he confirmed that that was the situation and said that playing in the SEL could be the best place for Klefbom. After all, he would get to play with men and in a highly competitive league and as much as the Oilers could use help on the blueline, Klefbom wasn’t ready to walk in and take a permanent role on the team.
It was of course disappointing that Klefbom had an injury riddled season, and in fact could have easily missed out on playing for and winning gold with team Sweden at the World Juniors. But, Klefbom made the trip and along with Canadian defenceman Ryan Murray were voted by the media as the top defenceman of the tournament.
Through every interview and every conversation I had with Klefbom he would smile and talk about the history of Rexall Place and his excitement to play in Edmonton, but he always returned to the fact that he had one more year of his contract, and that he intended to play it. Signing with the Oilers this summer only shows that he does intend to come over to North America. Eventually.
Klefbom’s entry level contract (ELC) will not kick in until he comes over and plays with either the Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL or the Edmonton Oilers, so have no fear Oiler fans. But don’t think that he is the solution for next season’s team.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
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