Just before midnight on Tuesday night, The Journal's Jim Matheson tweeted that the "Oilers see Klefbom being partner for Justin Schultz. Hoping Klefbom can be as good off hop as buddy Jonas Brodin." Yikes.
On one hand it's not such a bad thing to hope that Klefbom can be a solid NHLer right away. He has been playing in the Swedish Elite League for three seasons including this one (albeit a campaign shortened by injury). He won a gold medal for his country at the 2012 World Junior Championship and was named a first team all star for the tournament. He is certainly a solid prospect.
And yet, if he plays in the NHL next season it will be his first game of any kind since November of 2012 and his first action in the best league in the world. If Klefbom is in the lineup in October he will be only 20 years old and he has just 67 games of experience in the SEL.
What I mean to say is: he could probably use a little seasoning.
But if Matheson's tweet represents a true glimpse of Oilers policy after Steve Tambellini was fired, it's clear that little has changed in the way the team breaks in its young players. The Oilers will no doubt be expecting big things from Justin Schultz next season, and pairing Klefbom with him will ensure some heavy action. "Hoping he can hit the ground running" doesn't exactly constitute a solid plan for the player, or the team.
If the Oilers want to see the playoffs next season they're going to need actual NHL players for the defense. It's not a knock on Klefbom; merely a recognition of how hard it is to make the jump. If the team does in fact rely heavily on a highly touted rookie with MacTavish at the helm, we'll know for sure who's pulling the strings in the organization.