27 young, talented Oilers prospects gathered at Rexall Place today for medical evaluations and fitness testing in preparation for rookie camp and the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, B.C. this week. There was one player in particular whose excitement shone through during the interviews with the media.
Defenceman Oscar Klefbom is a rookie focused on making the Oilers roster out of camp with a good performance in the preseason and it all starts with his first Young Stars Tournament.
Oscar Klefbom was drafted by the Oilers, 19th Overall in the First Round of the 2011 NHL Draft.
"It's been a really good summer, a really good time to prepare myself for the season," Klefbom said. "It's going to be fun."
Klefbom is coming off of a shoulder injury sustained while playing with Farjestads of the Swedish Elite League last season. This camp means more to Klefbom as he has been itching to return to game action since 2012.
"It's going to be really fun. It's been a long time since the injury. I haven't played in a really good game since October of last year so I am very excited. I'm looking forward to the week."
Coming off of a shoulder injury it's that first hit, either delivered or taken, that is the most tentative. While Klefbom says he is not focused on getting the first one out of the way, he says it will just be good to get out there, finally.
Klefbom is a big, physical defenceman standing at 6-3 and weighing over 200 pounds. He is eager to showcase that size and toughness on the smaller sheet of ice of the North American game.
"I like the smaller ice. It feels good to play on the small ice. I think my strengths are that I am a big, strong defenceman. I think that it could be a really great thing that the ice is small. I don't see that as a problem."
The former 19th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft has wasted no time training in the offseason. He spent the summer training with Farjestad and then with Minnesota's high-end prospect Jonas Brodin and Washington's Marcus Johansson.
It's been a long wait for the Oilers rookie, but he is more than ready to step foot on the ice tomorrow.
"Last year I was at the development camp but not the rookie camp. So I am very excited for the week and looking forward to go with the guys and play some games."
The unfamiliarity with the camp or tournament structure doesn't faze him.