One of the hot-topic debates throughout the season for fans of the Edmonton Oilers was whether or not defenseman Oscar Klefbom would need to be protected at this year’s NHL Expansion Draft. There was some speculation that he might be exempt from the draft due what the NHL defines as a “career-ending injury”. There’s some news on Saturday regarding such speculation.
As per Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic, a source told the scribe that in order for Klefbom to be exempt from the NHL Expansion Draft, he would need to be ruled out for the entirety of next season. In other words, it’s not enough that he didn’t play at all this season, but it will need to be determined he can’t go next season either. If that happens, he won’t be eligible for the draft.
The good news as far as the player’s health goes is that the Oilers are saying Klefbom’s surgery went well. Nugent-Bowman writes, “There’s optimism within the organization about the surgery, I’m told, but it’s still too early to tell its true effectiveness.” The team is still waiting to find out if the defenseman will be ready for opening night or if he won’t be able to give next season a go. If he starts the season or gets in at all, the Oilers will have to decide whether to protect him.
What Does This Mean for Klefbom and Barrie?
First, the Oilers will be keeping a close eye on Klefbom’s rehab and recovery. The team clearly wants him to return, but they need to make sure he’s healthy and good to go. If there’s any chance he won’t be back or he’s not going to be as effective a player moving forward.
If he’s not able to play or will miss most of the season, the Oilers will make re-signing Tyson Barrie a huge priority. If Klefbom is good to go, the Oilers may make a fair offer to Barrie but be willing to let him walk if the asking price is too high. The key date here is July 21. Edmonton needs to know where Klefbom is at by then.
Other Oilers News:
The team placed Joakim Nygard on waivers Saturday. It’s an interesting decision based on the CBA rules regarding taxi squad players so there’s some thought maybe the Oilers are trying to time his waiver wire news just right so a club like the short-handed Vancouver Canucks might pick him up.
Bouchard Unlikely to See More Games
Defenseman Evan Bouchard is on the taxi squad and will probably stay for the remainder of the season. Some are calling for the Oilers to play him, but it will likely take an injury to another defenseman for him to get back in the lineup. It’s because of the “what if” that the Oilers aren’t demoting him.
They could send Bouchard down to the AHL, but he would need to cross the border twice go and come back and the Oilers want the flexibility of being able to make a move if they need to.
Don’t Expect to See Alex Stalock
The Oilers now have access to Alex Stalock but he’s unlikely to play. He’s more the Oilers third-string insurance option and the team doesn’t believe he’s close to being up to speed yet. With so few games, it would be an injury that would see the Oilers slot him into the lineup.
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