Things looked grim for the Edmonton Oilers when it was recently confirmed that defenseman Oscar Klefbom will not play in 2020-21, however, it sounds the team might be able to count on someone else on the blue line.
It appears that their solution to replace Klefbom is in Sweden as William Lagesson is getting a lot of attention.
Klefbom, who put up 34 points in 52 games last season, is the number one defender on the Oilers’ blue line and losing him will be a huge blow tp their lineup. However, there is hope.
Despite the fact that general manager Ken Holland did admit losing Klefbom was a tough pill to swallow, he did reveal he would not make a trade for a defenseman seeing that great blue liners are too costly on the market. The GM was however very hopeful when he started watching Lagesson in action with Vita Hasten in Norrkoping, about 90 minutes south of Stockholm, in the Swedish second division. After signing a two-year, two-part deal with the Oilers, Lagesson was loaned there and has since collected has nine points in 11 games back home.
“I’ve been following Lagesson … he’s certainly getting a lot of points,” said Holland to the Edmonton Journal on Thursday.
In the meantime, Holland is is no rush to put Klefbom and his $4.1 million salary on long-term injury status.
“I’m planning for 2020-21 that Oscar is not playing and anything other than that will be a surprise. A pleasant surprise,” said Holland, who would have room to sign another veteran D with Klefbom’s money off the cap, but has no interest.
“Yes, we could always use one more but we’re fine right for now,” he said. “We’ve got Lagesson signed. If we get (Ethan) Bear signed, then we’ve also Bouchard … I’m watching how Evan’s playing in Europe. He’ll be back for our training camp.
“As for Philip Broberg, my thought is he’ll stay in Skelleftea until their Swedish season is over. Our NHL season will go way beyond that (so he can come to Edmonton). We’ve got some young defensemen.”
Holland prefers to focus on the positive until he sees otherwise on the ice.