Ah yes, with summer coming to its close and preseason hockey beginning, I know you’re all getting the tingles. Throughout this time there’s hope on my end that these writings have rang true with at least a few with hockey on the horizon. Though hopefully, not my final spotlight coverage, one player you’ll all equally covet after this read plays in Alberta. Everyone knows the Oilers are going to be a hot bed for fantasy assets for years to come, but beyond the likes of Connor Mcdavid, Leon Draisaitl and Cam Talbot, a benefactor who stands to erupt is Oscar Klefbom. The chatter is there surrounding Klefbom, and the situation on the top power-play unit in the McDavid era. A threefold increase in point production from his injury-shortened 2015-16 season, 2016-17 was surely his coming out party.
In every measure that matters for a defenseman, he statistically rates anywhere from good to great and now with the emergence of his offense last year, he’s a bona fide number one. Most notable over anything production related, is Klefbom putting together a complete season which helped to dispel his injury-prone label. Possessing size, speed, skill, a booming shot and the ability to get the puck up ice, he really has all the qualities that make management salivate. Add in the fact that Andrej Sekera is out until at least December, and the coming season looks to be the time for Klefbom to crack into 40-point territory.
Though not ready to be the top anchor on your fantasy blueline, Klefbom is more than worthy of being an integral part of it. Kris Russell seems to have rubbed off on him as apparent in the 145 blocks last season making for a sneaky multi-category asset, as well. Everyone loves his shot production going north of 200 in 2016-17 and 12 goals with a shooting percentage of 6.0 says he can score more with even just a little statistical normalization. As stated before, he has no glaring weakness from a possession metrics standpoint, and last season saw deployment in split fashion between the offensive/defensive zones, speaking to the coach’s trust in all situations.
The real bread and butter of his potential increased production was the power play. As he continues to mature as a player. and the team further gels, this top unit will only get better. Anytime you have extended exposure to a generational talent in a man advantage scenario, it’s more than likely going to lead to goals and assists]. If Klefbom can notch just a couple more goals and assists on top of his output from 2016-17, then we are talking about a new fantasy tier. Very much like Nick Leddy who was covered a few weeks ago it’s all there for Klefbom to blossom. Beyond man-advantage play, the even-strength situation also bodes well to continued success for the young Swede. Adam Larsson coming over from New Jersey has been a phenomenal partner thus far for Klefbom. Paired with Larsson 80.7 percent of the time at even strength a year prior, it is safe to say the situation shall remain the norm for both as an established pair.
Fact of the matter is the ability has been there for quite some time. Already producing at a noticeable throughout the second half last year, 2017-18 is Klefbom’s time. If he continues the heavy deployment on the power play like the fourth quarter in 2016-17, we might be talking the potential for heralded 50-point showing. With Klefbom on the ice, the Oilers are more than likely in control of play, so while the price in your draft is cheap, get in on the breakout feeds to McDavid for converted breakaways because nobody is catching that dude.
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