If the Oilers had their way, they wouldn't break up a good thing. That good thing happens to be the Swedish duo manning the blueline: Adam Larsson and Oscar Klefbom. The two were paired together for the majority of 2016-17 and Head Coach Todd McLellan liked what they had going.
"In an ideal world, we'll keep them together," McLellan said Wednesday, speaking at the Mark Spector Golf Classic in Edmonton.
"I thought they really grew up as a pair throughout the regular season and could be counted on in a number of different situations, whether it was the need for offence or a shutdown situation."
Klefbom was a busy player last season, logging a team-high 22:22 TOI per game. He also led all Oilers defencemen in goals (12) and points (38) - both career highs.
Larsson also logged some heavy minutes, playing 20:08 TOI per game. The first-year Oiler also finished third on the team in blocked shots (160) and first on the team in hits (253), providing a steady and physical presence.
But with defenceman Andrej Sekera out with an injury, the Oilers staff needs to have a plan for the back end. That plan hopes to include Larsson and Klefbom as a pair, but also relies on other young players stepping up.
"We're expecting the group to come back and pick up where they left off," McLellan said of the defence. "It's not like it's a new group that has to learn the systems, the ways, the language, or even learn each other really, if that makes any sense. We're hoping they can pick up where they left off and we also want some of our younger players to come in and push and challenge. The minute you get that happening - the internal competition - I think your team is beginning to get set up for a good future."