Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Oscar Klefbom Autographed Card

(As per years past, this is a twin-post with my "regular" blog, where I predicted the Edmonton Oilers would finish fourth in the Pacific Division in 2019-20, which is likely outside the playoff picture anyway).

Oscar Klefbom is an excellent NHL defenseman by many accounts; ideally, his offensive capabilities are best suited for a #2 or #3 role, but he can hot the 35-40-point mark from the blue line whenever he plays a full 82-game season, which has happened once - and he even finished 5th in Ladty Byng votes that year with his "gentlemanly and sportsmanlike play".

As you can guess, his biggest knock is his inability to remain healthy, usually because of a reckless play. He's a rock in the defensive zone and will make fewer mistakes than most (again, on a #2 or #3-defender level, he's very good), but the reason why he is currently making $4.167M per year and won't get that much of a raise in three years when he's due to re-up is because it's hard to gauge hos many games he'll play.

Actually, no, scratch that, it's not hard at all: so far, he's suited up in 60, 30, 82, 66 and 61 games per year, meaning 60-65 should be your expectation. But in those games, he can spot your top guy and defend the zone, run a penalty kill and quarterback the second powerplay unit.

He's extremely useful. He wasn't a first-rounder (19th overall in 2011) for naught.

And the minute his Edmonton Oilers start learning how to play defensively as a unit, he'll stop being in the minuses and might start earning consideration for Lady Byngs again, as well as other awards, like the Bill Masterton (perseverance), maybe even the Mark Messier (leadership) award, despite not being a captain.

Here he is wearing the Oilers' beautiful blue (then-home) jersey on card #191 from Upper Deck's 2014-15 MVP set, which is his rookie card in that series:
He signed it in blue sharpie after a game in Ottawa last year. It shows him wearing #84 - which he wore for two seasons and makes him the ideal #84 in my Oilers Numbers Project.

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