Eleven months have passed since Oscar Klefbom skated in anything more competitive than a scrimmage. It was an endless stretch of time as far as the Edmonton Oilers defensive prospect is concerned. At least those days are behind him. Klefbom headlines the list of rookies who will take part in the Young Stars Tournament which gets underway at Penticton B.C. on Thursday when the Oilers play the Calgary Flames. Edmonton also meets the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday and Vancouver Canucks on Sunday. The San Jose Sharks are also taking part in the tournament. “It’s been a long time” Klefbom said in-between the mandatory physical and medical tests the rookie players had on Wednesday. “(But) I’ve had a really good summer. I had a good chance to prepare myself for the season.” Klefbom the 19th selection in the 2011 NHL draft left the ice last October with a shoulder injury that derailed his final season with Farjestads in the Swedish Elite League. Surgery was superseded by rehabilitation which was replaced by the wait to get back into a game. He attended the Oilers’ development camp in July then got in some preparation time with Fjaestads before its season got underway in August. Since then Klefbom trained with the Minnesota Wild’s Jonas Brodin and the Washington Capitals’ Marcus Johansson. “I’m looking forward to hitting the ice tomorrow” said Klefbom who will go from the rookie tournament to the Oilers’ main training camp intent on competing for a spot on the NHL roster. First there are the Young Stars to contend with. Twenty-four players selected during the 2013 NHL entry draft will compete in the tournament including the Flames’ Sean Monahan who was selected sixth overall and the Canucks’ Bo Horvat the ninth pick. Horvat arrives with the added pressure of being the player acquired in the trade of goaltender Cory Schneider. Unable to move veteran Roberto Luongo the Canucks flipped Schneider to the New Jersey Devils on draft day. The Oilers who attended the previous two tournaments with the No. 1 draft picks (first Taylor Hall; then Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) will have five of their 2013 selections in tow including defenceman Darnell Nurse (seventh overall) and winger Marc-Olivier Roy their second-round pick. There will be more seasoned players there as well. Andrew Miller a free-agent signing who honed his game with the Yale University Bulldogs while studying political science is among Edmonton’s 27 players at the rookie camp. Also in attendance are Edmonton Oil Kings alumni Travis Ewanyk David Musil and Martin Gernat. Goaltender Tyler Bunz who spent most of last season with the Stockton Thunder in the ECHL is not a newcomer to the rookie camp nor is Cameron Abney who turned pro in 2011-12. Defenceman Martin Marincin who logged 69 games with the American Hockey League’s Oklahoma City Barons last season is also on the roster. “I’m real confident with what I’ve done this summer. I’ve put myself in a good position for the tournament” said the 18-year-old Nurse.
Oilers rookie Klefbom eager to get back in action
Edmonton Journal | Sep 5