The Edmonton Oilers have locked up young, promising defensemen Oscar Klefbom to a long-term deal.
Sunday morning, the Oilers officially announced they have signed Klefbom to a seven-year contract. According to General Fanager, the deal, which will kick in next season, is worth $29.17-million and carries a cap hit of $4.167-million per campaign.
The 22-year-old blueliner has only 77 games under his belt, but the Oilers locking him up is a big vote of confidence for Klefbom. After getting his feet wet in 2013-14 by playing 17 games with the Oilers, Klefbom was a fixture of Edmonton’s top two pairings in 2014-15, suiting up for 60 games and averaging 22 minutes per game on the backend.
In his rookie campaign, Klefbom managed two goals and 20 points, but his real impact was felt on the defensive side of the puck. At 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, Klefbom has a massive frame and could become a top-pairing shutdown defender with some guidance from veterans Andrej Sekera and Andrew Ference.
Klefbom’s shutdown ability should win him serious points with new coach Todd McLellan and there’s even the possibility he has the confidence in the young defenseman to put him on the top pairing alongside Sekera. Klefbom moves well for his size and having him paired with a veteran puck-moving defenseman could be the perfect fit as Edmonton looks to take a big step forward in 2015-16.
Getting Klefbom under contract long-term means the Oilers have another young piece in place to build their blueline. Landing Sekera as a free agent in the off-season was a big get, but with Klefbom’s development and Darnell Nurse on his way, the Oilers’ defense corps is looking substantially better than it has in previous years.
Though it could be considered a big risk to sign a defenseman who has only suited up for 77 big league games to a seven-year deal, Edmonton’s biggest needs were in goal and on the blueline. This off-season, they’ve taken care of both, and with Klefbom signed they can focus on improving their depth and building a winner.