Citing a report from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Edmonton Journal columnist and Edmonton Oilers insider David Staples wrote an article yesterday about Oilers defenceman Oscar Klefbom and the seemingly never-ending trade speculation that surrounds him.
It’s believed that Klefbom has been playing through a nagging shoulder injury all season long and the fact that the team has yet to shut him down, despite being well out of the Western Conference playoff race, has led to speculation that Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli is showcasing the Swedish defender for a trade.
“It’s pretty clear that he’s been playing hurt. And players who have played against him say that he has been really protective of his shoulder, the way he turns, the way he goes into the boards. Like, he has played pretty hard this year considering he has really been hurting,” said Friedman earlier this week on Sportsnet’s Hockey Central. “And the fact that they haven’t shut him down, I think that’s leading to some belief that they are showcasing him. And if you want to trade something that can get you value in Edmonton, Klefbom might be the guy. And I think the fact that they haven’t shut him down when clearly he has been playing with pain, I think that’s leading to some wonder that he could be a guy that other teams are looking at.”
Friedman may just be reaching for a story here… but he’s such a well connected insider that it’s tough to dismiss his comments. If he reports that a player is on the trade block, we’re inclined to believe him.
Friedman’s Sportsnet colleague Mark Spector backs up Friedman as well saying, ““Is he ever healthy? Give me a time when he’s healthy. We’re well into a career here and the guy is hurt every single year. It’s not going to get easier to play. It’s going to get harder. He’s not going to get younger.”
“If the right trade offer came, Spector said, “I’d absolutely move him…. His track record is he’s hurt too much. I’d move him.”
The right offer? What’s the offer going to be for an often-injured defenceman who has put up 30+ points just once in his career. It’s not like the Oilers are going to get a lot in return for Klefbom, so why bother? Why not shut the 24-year-old down for the rest of the season and focus on getting him back to his usual self for the 2018-19 campaign? Maybe there’s more to it than meets the eye? Interesting times in Oil Country…