EDMONTON, AB - Oscar Klefbom shares a lot of similarities with one of the newest members of the Edmonton Oilers.
Both were born and raised in Sweden - their hometowns are just over an hour apart. Both play defence. Both are first-round draft selections of the Orange and Blue.
And like Klefbom, Philip Broberg will also spend his first season as an Oilers prospect back home in Sweden.
The eighth-overall pick at the 2019 NHL Draft elected to stay in his home country and will suit up for Skelleftea AIK (Swedish Hockey League) for the 2019-20 season rather than make the move overseas and join the Hamilton Bulldogs (Ontario Hockey League).
For Klefbom, it's a decision he can relate with.
"It's tough from the organization's standpoint. You really want to be patient with those guys," said Klefbom in an interview with EdmontonOilers.com. "We all know what he's capable of, being a high draft pick and all that, but you really need to focus on what's best for him.
"It's really easy to be an Oilers fan in North America to just take him over so we can see him, but it's so different to come from Sweden or Europe to adjust, play the smaller ice surface, find a place to live, move from your hometown and not see your family for nine months. It's a big step for him."
Klefbom, who has amassed 122 career NHL points (29G, 93A), played in 44 games for Farjestad BK from 2011-2013 before making the jump to North America, suiting up for the Oklahoma City Barons for 48 games before making his NHL debut on March 11, 2014, in the city where he was drafted. The veteran of 316 NHL games knows how significant of playing an extra season on home soil can be first hand.
"For me, it was perfect," said Klefbom. "I couldn't have put myself in a better spot being in a great organization in a really good league in Sweden to mature and play a lot of ice time and have a lot of responsibility. It was a great deal for me and it was a good solution for Edmonton too, I think. Playing with Farjestad, it was a great organization to grow and get more confidence in handling the pressure.
"I think it's a good choice for him because he's a big guy and can probably play a lot of minutes and take on a lot of responsibility. It's going to be fun to see how he steps up in the Swedish Hockey League and it's going to be interesting to follow him over the next couple of years. He looks really good on the ice. Very smooth. Hopefully, he's going to be a key piece for us in the future."