At 6'2 and 204 lbs Oscar has becomes the 'Oilers' next great hope. Oscar Klefbom brings a good size presence in the form of a player who has game already. After years of watching Jordon Eberle, Taylor Hall, Magnus Paajarvi, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and last year Nail Yakupov, dominate the attention at Oilers Development Camp, Klefbom and fellow blueliner Darnell Nurse were the ones who were being watched closely this camp.
Klefbom had many eyes upon him last year and before his injury was actually scheduled to be at Oilers training camp in September 2012. As fate goes, he was injured and was not able to attend or even play the rest of the year. This year Nurse was all the ‘craze’ for MacT and the player he obviously was coveting if Monahan was gone at their drafting position. Center and defence is what MacT has preached and so it should be.
This years camp had maybe 75% of the total amount of fans visiting compared to 90-100% capacity at the previous 3 camps held in Edmonton and/or Sherwood Park. It’s a given without the excitement of a #1 OV draft selection, things are not as pretty as they are becoming solid. I have given MacT somewhat of a hard time in regards to what he has done, but selecting Nurse will really stabilize the back end of the Oilers defence for years to come.
This years camp was very little about the forwards (all the young prospects are already playing for the Oilers) and more about defence. With Musil. Gernat, Klefbom, Nurse and Simpson you have a pretty good group of prospects on defence to watch. You can always find ways to pick apart a defence corps in comparison to forwards but this group is looking good for the future.
Notice the size of the Oilers D-men coming down the pipe? They are big guys (maybe not all filled out yet, but will over time) but none stands out as ready as Oscar Klefbom. “The Bom” as I like to call him, stood hands above everyone else at this camp and he should. He has played against men for awhile, is big, solid muscle, good hockey IQ, a leader and solid character guy as mentioned by those closer to him. Not to mention this is his second camp and the 2nd time around is always easier. Just ask Jordon Eberle!
Sure Oscar made a few mistakes here and there but the drills are made to expose area’s on players to show them what they will need to work on. Be it positioning, stick work, skating agility etc..every player has work too do. I have followed these camps since 2007 and each year even the #1 OV selections struggled on different drills or at different points. This development camp is not about evaluation but about development.
Having said all that, Oscar Klefbom IMO has arrived to the point of readiness. I know many fans say ‘he needs time in the AHL’! How can you make that call, when you have not seen him play against actual NHL players and in game situations. For me, Oscar is ready for that 3rd pairing role already in Edmonton but he should have to earn it. If other players are stronger back there, send him to develop in the AHL awhile but let’s not judge him to quickly. Maybe Oil Country is tired of promises only to see players fall short or not used correctly. I like what MacT is doing by loading up on depth on defence. Klefbom will have his hands full this coming 2103-2014 NHL season competing for a position but I suspect he will be the player who walks out of the battle w=victorious because he is ‘just that good’. I was OK with Oscar and where we selected him but have become even more impressed with what we may have in the future. No pressure on the young guy, let’s just give him a chance before we judge where he should play is all I say.
As far as Darnell Nurse? He showed some promising size, learned some new skills to apply at the Jr level for practice and let’s hope he shows good arrows this year in the OHL.
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