The Edmonton Oilers will be without defenceman Oscar Klefbom for several weeks due to a shoulder injury. He played over 30 minutes in the team’s recent win over the Carolina Hurricanes, so the injury occurred either as a result of that game or it aggravated an existing issue. The team announced the injury late Tuesday morning.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) February 18, 2020
Oscar Klefbom Out With Shoulder Injury
The 26-year-old Klefbom has been Edmonton’s most productive blueliner in 2019-20. He has five goals and 33 points in 59 games. He has also blocked a team-best 172 shots. The most impressive part of Klefbom’s production is that it has come while averaging the most ice time of any Oilers defender on both the power play and penalty kill. It is possible his workload has contributed to his shoulder injury.
Klefbom is in the middle of a seven-year deal signed in 2015 that carries an annual cap hit of $4.17 million through 2022-23. He is a consistent 25-30 point defenceman at this point in his career. Klefbom is one of the team’s most reliable scoring options from the blueline but the team would prefer he averages more than 53 games in a season.
What This Means for the Future
25-year-old Darnell Nurse will likely take over as the primary power play defender. He has five goals and 26 points in 59 games. Ethan Bear is one of the top candidates to take over the penalty kill as well. The team has not promoted a defender from the AHL yet but they do have some of their young prospects on the NHL already. Former fourth-round pick William Lagesson was called up at the end of January and has played in three games with no points.
This injury impacts a tight division race. Edmonton is currently tied with the Vegas Golden Knights for first in the Pacific Division. Edmonton didn’t have the deepest blue line even with Klefbom and most of the most promising defenders are still developing. They also do not have much cap space to apply towards the trade deadline. The team will need to ship something of value out if they want to make a significant deadline move.