When Oscar Klefbom first took to the ice for the Oilers, the 20-year-old defenceman was a bit star struck with some of the players he was facing in battle. The pressure to perform against the NHL’s stars may have been a daunting task early, but the former 19th overall pick in 2011 says after a few games, he’s confident he can keep up.
“The players are so smart up here,” Klefbom said. “It’s a big difference from the American Hockey League to play against guys down there and then you play against players like Mikko Koivu, Jason Pominville, Shea Weber and stuff so it’s a big adjustment. But I found it, the first couple of games I was scared because, like I said, you play against so good players so you’re almost afraid of yourself that you’re not going to be enough. But after a couple of games, you feel more confident on the ice and you have to believe in yourself and have yourself play pretty good too so you can keep up with those players.”
Klefbom has now played eight games for Edmonton and, almost as quickly as they came, the nerves are gone.
“The first couple of games is always nerves and stuff. In the first four or five games, I just tried to play simple and play good defence and just take one step at a time and after a couple of games you feel more confident. Right now, it feels like I can do something good with the puck and can follow up in some rushes as well.”
It’s been quite the journey for one of the Oilers top defensive prospects. On his path to the NHL, Klefbom has struggled with injury issues and took time to adjust to the North American game this season. But in Oklahoma City, he was playing his best hockey after Christmas and after earning his first NHL duty, he continues to show signs of growth and comfortability at this level.
“It’s been a lot of emotions of course. This is what you work hard for everyday as a hockey player so I’m very glad to be here.”
No Fasth or Sam Gagner at practice today. Line combos otherwise remain intact. 11 forwards, 8 defencemen.— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) March 27, 2014
The goalie prospect comes to North America from Finland.
Tuohimaa has played in 19 games for HPK Liiga, posting a 3.12 GAA and .894 save percentage. He also has a 2.52 GAA and .925 save percentage in five games for Sport Mestis.
He was the 182nd overall selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and signed a two-year entry level contract with the club in 2013.
Head Coach Dallas Eakins spoke with the media after practice on Wednesday and provided his update on a few of the injuries to his players.
“We’re treating it as day-to-day right now,” Eakins said. “Everything seems to be going smoothly so he’s day-to-day. Who else do we got? (Yakupov) is end of the week, probably skating. Belov is good to go.”
Eakins calls Fasth’s injury a sprained neck with a headache.
“Sprained neck, headache so now you get into well which one is it, and until we know which one it is we’ll just stick with ‘we’re not sure’.”
With Fasth out, the Oilers recalled rookie goalie Laurent Brossoit from the Oklahoma City Barons. The Oilers are optimistic his services won’t be needed but depending on Fasth’s progression, Brossoit’s first action would most likely not be until the Oilers play a back-to-back series of games.
“Depending on Viktor, I’d probably just keep running with Ben,” Eakins said. “I haven’t put a whole lot of thought into it because I expect Viktor to be coming back into it. But the answer to your question is, I would probably run Ben until we got to the back-to-back then give the kid a shot.”
The Oilers next back-to-back is April 1-2, in San Jose and Anaheim.
Former Oiler Steve Staios will serve as the Hockey Canada management staff’s director of player development for the upcoming IIHF World Hockey Championship.
Staios will ‘assist the management group and coaching staff on ice, in addition to working on player development, evaluation and recruitment' according to Hockey Canada’s website.
Staios played with the Oilers from 2001-2010. He played in over 570 games with Edmonton.
The Edmonton Oilers are back on the ice for practice this morning with a few non-participants.
Sam Gagner and Ryan Jones not on the ice this morning at Rexall Place— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) March 26, 2014
The Edmonton Oilers have recalled goaltender Laurent Brossoit from the Oklahoma City Barons on an emergency basis.
Brossoit, 21, was acquired in a trade on November 8, from the Calgary Flames. Since then, Brossoit has had a superb rookie professional season in the ECHL.
With the Bakersfield Condors, Brossoit has a 2.20 goals against average, a .920 save percentage and a record of 19-9-2. He went 2-0-0 with the Alaska Aces prior to the trade. He leads the ECHL in shutouts with seven.
He is a three-time CCM/ECHL Goalie of the Week this season.
Brossoit has played eight games with the Barons in the American Hockey League this season, posting a 3.60 GAA and .888 save percentage.
The recall comes after Oilers goalie Viktor Fasth was injured Monday morning in practice with a possible sprained neck.
It was a scary moment at Oilers practice on Monday as Viktor Fasth collided with Anton Lander during a rush. Fasth remained still on the ice for quite some time while being attended to by the team’s training staff.
The response by the staff was quick and after several minutes of attention, Fasth was up and being helped off the ice. Despite appearing woozy on his skate off the ice, it is not believed to be a concussion per Head Coach Dallas Eakins.
“I didn’t see it,” Eakins said. “He got driven into the net off a rush and banged his head. He wasn’t concussed or anything but I guess sprained his neck. He’s going to go see the docs and if we have to call someone up, we will.”
The two options in Oklahoma City currently are Richard Bachman and Laurent Brossoit. Bachman has played in 42 games with OKC, posting a 20-17-4 record and a 3.08 goals against average and .907 save percentage. Brossoit, 21, has had a stellar ECHL campaign but has played just eight games with the Barons, recording a 3.60 GAA and .888 save percentage.