Oscar Klefbom hasn’t played, and won’t play, a single minute during this NHL season. Klefbom recently underwent shoulder surgery, with the goal of being at full health by training camp and returning for the 2021-22 season. GM Ken Holland recently told the media that he expects to know more about Klefbom’s status at some point in July, in advance of the Seattle Kraken expansion draft.
Klefbom himself gave his first update on the situation Friday, speaking to the media from Rogers Place in Edmonton.
“I feel pretty good,” Klefbom said about his shoulder and his hopes of playing next season. “Obviously it’s been just four weeks, it’s going to take some time and obviously there’s pain because of the surgery. Just overall, I’m really happy and the surgery overall was really successful. I’m really happy where I’m at right now, but I have a long way to go with the recovery, so I’m gonna do my best between my time in Sweden and now.”
Klefbom, after rehabbing in Edmonton, will return home to continue his rehab during the offseason. It’s likely that he’ll remain in Sweden until training camp, whether with the Oilers or another club.
Some wondered why Klefbom didn’t get the surgery sooner. After all, the issue has been prevalent for quite some time, and Edmonton’s 2019-20 season ended in August. Why wait until the following March to finally go under the knife?
“It was just a matter of the situation overall, with COVID,” Klefbom said about waiting to have surgery. “Like I said, the guy who did the procedure and had surgery with me is probably the best in North America and in the situation I’m in, I only wanted the best. So, it was just a matter of getting a good solution with COVID and getting into the States. Obviously it’s based in Cleveland and it’s not really easy to travel these days.”
With that answered, the big question that remains is Klefbom’s availability for the 2021-22 season. Will he be in camp and ready to go for opening night? Will Klefbom miss one, two or even three months dealing with the injury? Or, sadly, is this the end for Klefbom’s NHL career? All of these things are on the table right now, but there is no clear indicator which direction this goes.
“I wish I had more answers,” Klefbom said when asked about a timeline for return. “We’ll just wait and see. Like I said, it’s a big, serious surgery and we got to give it some time. For me to say here I’m going to be ready in October or November or whatever, it’s impossible. We’re just going to give it some time, and like I said, I’m going to do all my best to get the best shoulder I can possibly get.”
The NHL’s Seattle expansion draft is roughly three months away. Holland, Klefbom and the rest of Oil Country hope that the impossible question will have an answer by then. It could determine Klefbom’s future not only in Northern Alberta, but in the NHL.