EDMONTON OILERS; KLEFBOM'S HIDDEN OFFENSE | Oilersnetwork.com - Edmonton Oilers News and Rumours

EDMONTON OILERS; KLEFBOM'S HIDDEN OFFENSE

Photo By Lisa Gansky
Outside of Connor McDavid, Oscar Klefbom's injury last season was considered one of the downfalls of the Oilers season. It's no coincidence that with the loss of the Oilers top forward and the Oilers top blueliner, the season began to erode. Going forward, Edmonton will count on McDavid's elite talent to provide the offense and Klefbom is being looked at as Edmonton's number one defenseman.

He's yet to prove he's equipped to handle that role, simply because there's too small a sample size to prove it, but his numbers in limited playing time appear to show he has top-line potential. Klefbom is provided less than ideal zone starts, he posts a positive Corsi, plays over 21 minutes per game and can be relied upon in all situations. He's made lesser defensive partners look better and he's given better partners flexibility. For these attributes, he's starting to get noticed. What seems to go relatively unnoticed is his contribution on offense.

In 2015-16, Klefbom played 30 games and scored four goals and eight assists for 12 points. In 2014-15 he had 20 points in 60 games. It's not world-beating offense, but it's not shabby either. It's enough to show that Klefbom is the type of defenseman that should be given an opportunity. Where will those opportunities come from?

Powerplay


Edmonton lacks a threat from the blueline on the powerplay. While Andrej Sekera has been given the primary role on the left-side, Klefbom is more than equipped to handle second-unit duties. The Oilers of the past have been known to run a four-forward and one defenseman crew on the man-advantage. This doesn't always play well as the Oilers are known to give up short-handed opportunities.

Klefbom has an effective shot, an ability to read the play and the defensive prowess to get back in the event of trouble. If Klefbom sees significant time on the powerplay, he should be a realistic option.

3-on-3 Overtime


Sekera was deadly when placed with Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins in overtime. This unit was one of the most effective for the Oilers. Every team needs a second unit and McDavid, Draisaitl and Klefbom make for a great alternative. This combination would be fast, strong on the puck and skilled enough to own the offensive possession game.


Better Offensive Zone Starts

Klefbom was effective at stopping opposition possession in the defensive zone. He'll likely continue to be deployed that way. But with Adam Larsson, he now also has help. Simply finding opportunities to start Klefbom's shift in the offensive zone will create new opportunities.

The Oilers have a dandy of a defenseman in Klefbom. If he can stay healthy all season, it should be interesting to see where his production ends up even if he's only deployed in a similar fashion to seasons past. What may surprise us, is just how much he can contribute on offense.

But, who cares what I think right? For now, I'll just keep my mouth shut until I feel like spilling my guts again.





Jim Parsons is a business owner, husband, father and sports fan. For more information about Oilersnetwork.com founder and Oil Spill articles author Jim Parsons, click here.



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