Oilers prospect Oscar Klefbom latest to fall to the shoulder injury bug
DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency
|Oilers defenceman prospect Oscar Klefbom speaks to the media in Edmonton, Alta., Nov. 27, 2012. (TOM BRAID/QMI Agency)
EDMONTON - Oscar Klefbom has caught the Edmonton Oilers shoulder injury bug.
In an organization where season-ending shoulder injuries seem to be a rite of passage, the blue-chip prospect is the latest scheduled to undergo surgery.
Klefbom got the bad news this week after visiting with the Oilers doctors, having hurt his shoulder in October playing with Farjestads of the Swedish Elite League.
“It happened on Oct. 9 playing against Vaxjo,” Klefbom said. “I dumped the puck in the offensive zone and I got a small hit from behind and I lost my balance and I flew into the boards. I had to catch myself with my left arm.
“Afterwards, I couldn’t feel my arm, it was like a dead arm. I didn’t know what happened.”
Klefbom figured he had done some damage to his left shoulder, but not to the extent where it would cost him the remainder of the season.
He joins the likes of Shawn Horcoff, Ales Hemsky, and Taylor Hall who all had to undergo shoulder surgery.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also suffered a shoulder injury last season.
“I’m trying to stay positive and keep my head high,” Klefbom said. “It’s a long time to be away from hockey, but I’m going to be positive and try to come back even stronger for summer camp. We’ll see what happens with the surgery, I don’t know yet. If I have the surgery here, it’ll be on Dec. 13. But Farjestads and Edmonton are going to have discussions possibly (Wednesday) and they’ll see what’s best for me.”
The 19-year-old defenceman was selected by the Oilers in the first round — 19th overall — of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
He arrived in Edmonton a couple of days ago to be evaluated by Oilers doctors, not anticipating he would be out for the rest of the year.
“No, absolutely not,” Klefbom said. “Back home in Farjestads, we thought it would be six to eight weeks, probably. It’s obviously a bit longer.”
It hasn’t been decided where the native of Karlstad, Sweden will have the surgery. The Oilers and Farjestads need to work out details of the procedure.
If it takes place in Canada, Klefbom would have the surgery in mid-December. He would then likely return home to begin the long rehabilitation process.
Klefbom had suited up in 18 games for Farjestads this season, collecting three assists in that time.
He was playing heavy minutes on the blue line with the club and had a plus-seven rating in league play.
“I was having a very good year,” he said. “I was playing a lot of minutes, about 25 a night. It was a bad injury, it happened but there’s not much I can do.”
Along with the disappointment of being out for the rest of the season, Klefbom will also miss the World Junior Hockey championships, which get underway Boxing Day in Ufa, Russia.
The Swedes go into the tournament as defending gold medal champions and Klefbom was expected to be their captain.
“Yeah, that’s hard,” he said. “Of course, I was looking forward to the World Juniors, but it is what it is, so I just have to look forward to next season.
“Now, my next goal is to have good rehab after the surgery and then have a good summer camp. I want to keep my head up, stay positive and come back even stronger. This is my first serious injury.”
Klefbom had stayed in Sweden this year due to an agreement with Farjestads. He was in the final season of his deal with the club.
Next year, the six-foot-four, 204-pound defenceman is expected to play in North America, most likely starting out with the Oilers’ AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City.
Klefbom is looking forward to joining the rest of the Oilers rising stars and has kept tabs on their progress during the NHL lockout.
“I’ve been able to watch them,” he said. “It’s hard because of the time difference, but I try to watch every game. They look pretty good.
“(Justin) Schultz is an unbelievable player. He’s a good guy, I met him at the summer camp this year. He’s really good. I hope I get to play with him one day.”