Ahead of the 2018-19 season, EdmontonOilers.com is taking a look back at the '17-18 individual performances of the Oilers in our series 'Roster Redux'
EDMONTON, AB - When you're feeling the bumps and bruises of a long season deep into a playoff run, you play through the pain.
During the 2017 Western Conference Finals, that's exactly what Oscar Klefbom did despite the wear and tear of a shoulder problem that's served as a nuisance to the 25-year-old at times during his professional career.
"There was a lot stuff going on in [the shoulder]," Klefbom said in his exit interview. "It's been going on for many, many years but obviously last year wasn't a good time to go in and have surgery with us in the play-offs."
Video: RAW | Klefbom Exit Interview
The Swedish defenceman registered 38 points (12 goals, 26 assists) in a full 82 games for the Oilers in 2016-17, including five points in 12 games during the club's first playoff appearance in a decade.
Despite renewed optimism, Klefbom felt the shoulder's impact last season, scoring 21 points in 66 games and missing the final 10 games with season-ending surgery in March.
"I don't have any excuses, but it's tough to play when you're not 100 percent," the 6-foot-3 defenceman said. "Back at the beginning of the season I didn't really know how bad it was, thinking if I get surgery now I could be out the rest of the season. Especially with that tough start I wanted to help and get us back on the winning track because that was our goal."
Not knowing if it was going to be a six-month or six-week recovery, good news came for Klefbom following successful surgery, allowing the defenceman to enter this off-season with a clean bill of health.
"It feels good going home knowing the shoulder is 100 percent so I don't have to go through this again with medications and injections."
With a full summer of recovery and training, Klefbom's sights are set on playing a key role on the power-play and helping returning the team to the post-season following an off year for many of the core Oilers players.
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"Obviously it wasn't where we wanted it to be," Klefbom said of last season. "If you're going to go to the finals and win the cup, you really need the special teams working. The power-play and the penalty-kill weren't good enough this year and is something we definitely need to improve on if we're going to go far in the play-offs."
Klefbom will be given a chance at a fresh start in his home country this fall when he and the Oilers open their 2018-19 campaign in Sweden, facing the New Jersey Devils in their season opener in Stockholm as part of the NHL Global Series on October 6.
"Obviously it's going to be a lot of fun," he added. "Just watching all those Swedes from other teams playing in Stockholm, it's been just a dream. Now that we can do it, it's going to be a lot of fun. I'll have a lot of friends and family there, and it's going to be a memory to remember."