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FUTURE WATCH | Oscar Klefbom

Former first round pick Oscar Klefbom is finding his rhythm in his first season with the Oklahoma City Barons and is earning praise from his head coach.

Wednesday, 19.02.2014 / 2:00 AM / Features
By Chris Wescott  - edmontonoilers.com
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FUTURE WATCH | Oscar Klefbom
Former first round pick Oscar Klefbom is finding his rhythm in his first season with the Oklahoma City Barons and is earning praise from his head coach.


Oscar Klefbom
has finally had the chance to find his rhythm, and it’s paying off in terms of his development.

Injuries have kept the Edmonton Oilers 19th overall pick in 2011 off the ice for almost all of last year and parts of this season. Since returning to the ice for the Oklahoma City Barons on January 17, after missing six games, Klefbom has been gaining confidence with every game he’s played.

“Since after Christmas, it’s been a really good time for me,” Klefbom said. “I’m feeling a lot more confidence on the ice and with the puck too. The last month has been really good for me.”

Klefbom defends a Toronto Marlies player. Photo by OKC Barons/Steven Christy

It’s been a process for the 20-year-old blueliner in his first season of North American professional hockey. As expected, there has been an adjustment period.

“I think he’s made tremendous strides from the start of the year,” Barons Head Coach Todd Nelson said. “At the start of the year, I think he was trying to adapt to the North American style. He struggled at times, which is normal for a player that didn’t play a lot of games last year. He was out for most of the season, so there was always an expected adjustment period.”

That adjustment period is over now and Klefbom is settling in.

“Right now, I feel pretty good,” Klefbom said. “Obviously, it was a pretty big adjustment for the type of game over here compared to the one in Sweden. Right now, the injury feels really good and I’m starting to get some games under my belt so it feels really good.”

Nelson is elated with the progress, “Since he came back from his injury, I think he’s been playing great hockey for us. He’s been very consistent, he’s played solid in his own end and I think some of the things we’ve been trying to teach, he’s taken to and his game is really solid right now.”

Offensively, Klefbom has been improving. In the Barons’ recent two-game series against the Charlotte Checkers, the young defenceman finished +3 with eight shots on goal. While the points have been absent, the improvement is showing.

Photo by OKC Barons/Steven Christy.

“It’s been better and better,” Klefbom said. “I think it’s been (because of) my confidence coming back. I’m feeling more confident with my skating, with the puck and without the puck too. It feels like I can jump up in plays and show off my offensive skills too.”

Todd Nelson and the Barons have begun to rely heavily on Klefbom and, in tandem, have seen some recent team success. Klefbom is earning the important minutes for Oklahoma City.

“He’s a player that we can look at for trying to preserve a win,” Nelson said. “If we’re up by a goal, we’re putting him out for the last minute of play. He has tremendous stamina and I think that he’s on the right path. I can only see him getting better. Right now, he’s played the best hockey of his North American career.”

Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish was in Oklahoma City over the last weekend to observe the Barons and the Oilers prospects. Klefbom is well aware that he is being watched by the Oilers brass and is constantly working to get better as he closes in on taking the next step towards NHL duty.

“I work everyday with (OKC Assistant Coach) Rocky Thompson to try and get better with my quick feet,” Klefbom said. “I’m a pretty big defenceman so I need to be very mobile and very smart on the ice to play in the NHL. The shot can always be better to play in the NHL, it can always be improved. It’s the small details.”

Photo by OKC Barons/Steven Christy.

As a team, the Barons have made their own strides as of late. Oklahoma City is 6-0-0-1 in their last seven games and is fighting for a playoff spot in the American Hockey League’s Western Conference. Despite the slow start to the season, OKC finds itself gaining some momentum.

“It’s very similar to what we saw last year, where we finally got our team together,” Nelson said. “There haven’t been as many transactions and we’ve got a group together that’s starting to buy in to the team concept and they’re playing well together. It’s very similar to what we saw last year and hopefully the trend will be the same where we’ll get into the playoffs and have a good playoff run. Right now, we’re a team where we’re playing hard for each other and I think that’s the reason for our success.”

For the young prospects, such as Oscar Klefbom, all of the hard work and effort is finally paying dividends.

“Yes, absolutely,” Klefbom said. “We maybe had a tough start to the season, but right now it feels like everyone is feeling more confident, especially me, on the ice. We feel very strong as a team right now.”

The hope is the Barons can continue their recent level of play and slip into the playoffs. A postseason run can only help the development of a player like Klefbom who is just now finding his groove.

  Barons Player StatsAHL StandingsBarons Schedule | Past Prospect Stats: 2012-13 | 2011-12


Stats Updated as of Tuesday February 18, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. MST

Oklahoma City (AHL)


Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM
WILL ACTON F 26 27 7 5 12 4 44
MARK ARCOBELLO F 25 3 3 4 7 3 4
BRANDON DAVIDSON   d 22 44 0 6 6 -6 34
BEN EAGER   F 30 30 4 2 6 -2 103
TRAVIS EWANYK   F 20 50 4 4 8 -7 60
TAYLOR FEDUN   d 25 41 7 19 26 7 45
MARTIN GERNAT   d 20 38 3 12 15 -12 20
DENIS GREBESHKOV D 30 31 2 5 7 -8 18
curtis hamilton   f 22 21 5 4 9 -2 11
ryan hamilton   F 28 30 7 9 16 -1 26
ROMAN HORAK F 22 35 14 14 28 5 14
brad hunt   D 25 42 6 23 29 8 24
ryan Jones   F 29 4 2 0 2 -2 2
kale kessy   F 21 42 2 4 6 -7 71
oscar klefbom   d 20 39 0 6 6 -11 10
anton lander   F 22 34 16 22 38 5 16
philip larsen   d 24 7 1 6 7 -4 4
STEVE MACINTYRE F 33 8 0 0 0 -2 34
MARTIN MARINCIN   D 21 24 3 4 7 4 5
andrew miller   F 25 37 5 14 19 0 10
david musil   d 20 36 1 6 7 -9 36
TYLER PITLICK   F 22 26 6 9 15 3 10
COREY POTTER D 30 6 0 1 1 -1 21
Bakersfield (ECHL)


Name POS age    GP G A P +/- PIM
MARTIN GERNAT D 20 3 0 1 1 -2 6
KALE KESSY F 20 3 1 0 1 -1 0
DAVID MUSIL D 20 3 1 0 1 -3 2
Canadian Hockey League
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
BEN BETKER   d 19 55 5 10 15 -12 88 EVERETT SILVERTIPS (WHL)
GREG CHASE f 19 58 31 40 71 21 55 CALGARY HITMEN (WHL)
DARNELL NURSE D 19 56 12 33 45 5 76 SAULT STE. MARIE (OHL)
JACKSON HOUCK   F 18 58 28 17 45 -4 46 VANCOUVER GIANTS (WHL)
JUJHAR KHAIRA   f 19 46 14 19 33    0 48 EVERETT SILVERTIPS (WHL)
MITCH MOROZ   F 19 57 31 27 58 30 133 EDMONTON OIL KINGS (WHL)
KYLE PLATZER   F 18 39 9 8 17 -4 14 LONDON KNIGHTS (OHL)
16 9 5 14 -4 8 OWEN SOUND ATTACK (OHL)
MARCO ROY   F 19 28 8 18 26     5  25 BLAINVILL (QMJHL)
NCAA & USHL
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
EVAN CAMPBELL   f 20 22 6 1 7 N/A 14 UMASS-LOWELL
KELLEN JONES   F 23 32 16 21 37 N/A 25 quinnipiac
JOEY LALEGGIA  d 21 29 9 10 19 n/a 32 DENVER
JOHN MCCARRON   f 21 24 5 13 18 n/a 37 CORNELL
AIDAN MUIR   F 18 38 11 13 24 16 52 INDIANA (USHL)
DILLON SIMPSON   D 20 28 6 12 18 n/a 8 NORTH DAKOTA
Europe
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
ERIK GUSTAFSSON   D 21 46 2 17 19 5 14 frolunda (sweden)
ANTON SLEPYSHEV  F 19 32 3 5 8 4 6 UFA (RUSSIA)
ANTTI TYRVAINEN   F 24 35 4 7 11 7 126 JOKERIT HELSINKI (FINLAND)
BOGDAN YAKIMOV  F 19 33 7 5 12 1 2 Nizhnekamsk (russia)
DANIIL ZHARKOV  F 19 49 2 2 4 2 35 NIZHNY NOVGOROD (RUSSIA)
2014 World Junior Hockey Championships
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
ANTON SLEPYSHEV  F 19 4 2 2 4 +6 0 RUSSIA
BOGDAN YAKIMOV  F 19 4 1 1 2 +3 2 RUSSIA
Goaltenders
Name age GP w l T GAA SV% team
RICHARD BACHMAN   26 30 14 12 3 3.02 .911 OKLAHOMA CITY (AHL)
LAURENT BROSSOIT 20 7 2 4 0 3.53 .885 OKLAHOMA CITY (AHL)
20 13 6 1 2.01 .927 BAKERSFIELD (ECHL)
TYLER BUNZ   21 11 5 2 3 2.64 .904 BAKERSFIELD (ECHL)
4 1 1 1 3.15 .914 OKLAHOMA CITY (AHL)
Frans Tuohimaa   22 19 n/a n/a n/a 3.12 .894 HPK HAMEENLINNA (FINLAND)

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