EDMONTON, AB - Oscar Klefbom has been a bright spot for the Oilers organization for some time. Over the last few seasons, he worked his way into a spot on the top defensive pairing and has been solid, if not impactful, there.
However, his start to this season hasn't been where he or the team would have expected it to be. Much like the team as a whole, Klefbom has seen his share of struggles.
"If you're out there and you make one mistake you start thinking about what you could have done better," said Klefbom. "It's turning into bad momentum… But I've got to be better for sure but right now it's not good enough for the whole team. For me, the personal level is not good enough."
Confidence is huge for a young defenceman. For Darnell Nurse, it is working in his favour. The 22-year-old replaced Klefbom on the top pairing with Adam Larsson at practice on Monday. For Klefbom, confidence is something that can be paired to his own performance.
"The confidence comes from making the right reads," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. "Not feeling good about your game comes from making the wrong reads. It goes together: the confidence and play. I think, in my opinion, Klef is a little indecisive right now. He's indecisive defensively, he's indecisive offensively. Shooting, he's got a tremendous shot. It's not getting to the area he's targeting, whether it's blocked or missing the net. Those are individual struggles that affect the team play."
McLellan says the coaching staff is working to help Klefbom and several other players get their games up to "where they're getting passing grades on consistent nights."