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KLEFBOM SHINES IN ROOKIE SEASON
By George Darkow,
The 2013-14 season was one of firsts for the Edmonton Oilers’ 2011 first round draft pick Oscar Klefbom.
In what was his first season in North America, Klefbom experienced a significant amount of time in both the AHL and NHL. The Swedish defenseman’s year began slowly, as he scored just a three points in his first three months with Oklahoma City. But in January, Klefbom’s productivity began to increase, and by March, he was recalled by the injury-plagued Oilers for what would be his NHL debut.
“It’s a (big) confidence boost to get the opportunity to play some games up there,” he said. “It was very fun. It was in incredible feeling when I (played in) my first NHL game, and I just want to play in some more games up there. Hopefully I get the chance next year, too.”
In his March 11 debut, Klefbom scored his first NHL point with an assist in Edmonton’s 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild, and on March 28, he netted his first NHL goal against goalie Jonas Hiller and the Anaheim Ducks. But despite considering this season a success, Klefbom eagerly anticipates what’s to come.
“It’s been a very exciting year for me – a big year – especially when I got a chance to play in the NHL as well,” Klefbom said. “So I think it was a really good year for me in my career so far. I’m just looking forward to the next one.”
In the midst of Klefbom’s stint in Edmonton, the Barons had overcome their early-season woes and found themselves in the thick of the AHL’s Western Conference playoff race. After the Oilers’ season came to an end, Klefbom returned to Oklahoma City, where he was pleased with how he and his teammates alike had grown.
“When I first got here, I struggled a bit in the beginning of the season,” he said. “I wasn’t used to the kind of play with the small rink and stuff. When I came back it was a whole new team and I think we finished off he regular season in an incredible way. It was very fun to see. There’s a lot of potential.”
Despite a whirlwind first season that saw the 20-year-old spend significant time with both the Oilers and Barons after spending much of his life in Sweden, Klefbom’s relocation to North America has been relatively easy, and he cites a number of reasons why Oklahoma City wound up being a prime destination.
“It’s been great,” he said. “I love the city. Everything is great around here. I like the personal life outside of hockey as well. (The Barons have) good coaches, we have all the stuff to be really good players, so I have nothing to complain about."
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