The Edmonton Oilers are expecting big things in the future from the 19th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Oscar Klefbom will make his home debut tonight at Rexall Place, but the 20-year-old defenceman already has four games under his belt after beginning his NHL career on the road.
“It’s been pretty good,” Klefbom says. “The first game, I was a little bit nervous but the second game and third game, it was very fun to play. I was relaxed and it feels like I’m ready for the NHL right now. I have a lot of confidence on the ice so there’s nothing to worry about.”
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins says the team likes the way Klefbom has played so far and there are building blocks there for the future.
“He’s been steady,” Eakins said. “Like any guy getting his feet wet, I thought he was nervous and a little anxious in his first game but since then, he’s settled down. We threw another loop at him to see how he would do, putting him over on the right side. The way that we’re checking in the neutral zone, playing the right side on our team comes with great responsibility because you’ve got to retrieve that puck almost every time when it comes into our zone. I thought he adjusted well there and he’s off to a good start early in his career.”
Klefbom has all of the things the Oilers are looking for in a defenceman and it’s just going to take some more coaching and acclimation to the league for the young player to continue to develop.
“All of the tools are there,”Eakins said. “They just have to be refined and then just the level of competition every night, for the 82 games, it’s relentless in this league. Especially for a defenceman. I think they’ve got, next to the goaltenders, they’ve got the toughest jobs in the league with the amount of size and the skill combined with these forwards. He’s had a good start, he’s been steady, that’s what we wanted and we’ll see how he progresses.”