Saturday: John Shannon of Sportsnet reports that Klefbom had surgery on his injured finger and is expected to be out between 6-8 weeks.
Wednesday: The Edmonton Oilers are rolling right now after installing a more defensive structure under new head coach Ken Hitchcock, but will now be without one of their best defensemen. Oscar Klefbom has been placed on injured reserve after suffering a hand injury in last night’s game that should keep him out “weeks.” The team has also activated Drake Caggiula while assigning Cooper Marody to the AHL. To make up for Klefbom’s absence, the team has recalled defenseman Caleb Jones, who could make his long-awaited NHL debut soon.
In the first ten games of the Hitchcock era in Edmonton, he made it very clear that he would lean heavily on the players who he thought gave him the best chance to win. Klefbom was one of them, averaging over 26 minutes a night before going down to injury against Colorado. The 25-year old had also recorded seven points in those ten games, including two game-winning goals. That’s nearly half his production for the entire season, and was a stretch that had him closer to the 2016-17 version that helped the Oilers reach the playoffs.
Losing him means someone else—almost surely Darnell Nurse—will have to carry the load defensively and play nearly half the game. Nurse got a taste of that when he recorded 30:44 of ice time last night, the highest total of his career by three full minutes. Along with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, Nurse will have to really excel in this period without Klefbom on the blue line and help the Oilers maintain their quick ascension of the Western Conference standings. Edmonton has gone 8-2-1 with Hitchcock in charge, and now sit just one point out of second place in the Pacific Division with a game in hand on both the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks.