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Oilers Say Oscar Klefbom Will Miss 2020-21 NHL Season, Ethan Bear Update

It has been confirmed by multiple sources and by the Edmonton Oilers organization that defenseman Oscar Klefbom will miss the entire 2020-21 NHL season. This was just one of a few announcements by the Oilers on Monday.

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Klefbom — arguably the Oilers top defenseman — was speculated to be out long-term prior to this news. The Oilers will use LTIR as a tool to remove and utilize his cap space in other ways, but the announcement that he’ll miss the entire 56-game season is still a huge blow to the team. His $4.167M cap hit can go on LTIR if the team needs the space to go over the $81.5M cap but the question now will be if the Oilers choose to pursue another defenseman via trade, explore UFA market and look at a player like Sami Vatanen, or give one of their young blueliner a shot?

GM Ken Holland was making moves and acting under the assumption Klefbom would be lost for the season and added other pieces knowing that he’d be down one of his top-four blueliners. It’s likely the big reason he added former Maple Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie.

The hope is that Klefbom will be ready for the start of the 2021-22 campaign.

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With the Klebom announcement, the focus will shift to getting defenseman Ethan Bear signed. He is a restricted free agent. Holland said, “Hopefully we can come to an agreement in the next week or so.”

Holland also notes that Oilers forward Gaetan Haas will miss the start of training camp after being a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case in Switzerland earlier this month, pushing back his travel timeline.

The Oilers will also look to get to the maximum 36 skaters for training camp starting Jan. 3 since Head Coach Dave Tippett wants to have multiple intrasquad pre-season games with at least 12 forwards & 4 d-men per side.

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