Doing It Again

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The Edmonton Oilers have just signed Oscar Klefbom to a 7 year contract extension at a cap hit of $4.167M.

The Oiler fans boys are giddy with excitement and virtually none of them see the downside risks in a signing that didn’t need to occur now and happened with Klefbom having only 77 NHL games on his resume.

Most of the comparables I’ve seen thrown about involved Jonas Brodin ($4.166M cap hit) who has 195 NHL games to his credit and was in the running for the Calder Trophy in his rookie season.

Brodin has been playing top pairing minutes in Minnesota since his rookie season while Klefbom, with the offseason addition of Andrej Sekera, will be a second pairing D in Edmonton.

Now, a $4.167 cap hit for an established second pairing D is certainly not an exorbitant amount but, once again, we need to consider the paltry track record Klefbom brings to the party.

We also need to remember he has an established injury history (he only played 11 games in his final SEL season) including at least one major concussion which leaves him as a significant risk.

But, beyond that, we should take a look at what some of the other puck moving Swedish defensemen are pulling down for salary and cap hit.

For my money, the best of the group is Karlsson, followed by OEL in Arizona, Victor Hedman in Tampa Bay and by emerging offensive superstar John Klingberg in Dallas.

Erik Karlsson – $6.5M

Oliver Ekmann- Larsson $5.5M

John Klingberg – $4.25M

Oscar Klefbom – $4.167M

Adam Larsson – $4.167M

Jonas Brodin – $4.166M

Victor Hedman – $4M

Obviously Klefbom is not in Karlsson’s area code either as a productive NHL defenseman or in cap hit but neither does he hang with this group, with the possible exception of Larsson since Klefbom’s offence will likely take a hit (from a very low bar) now that Sekera is on the Oiler’s roster.

The Oilers are obviously banking on Klefbom developing in a straight line and that gamble paying off by his 7 year contract becoming a bargain down the road.

If I were making that bet, Klefbom would be the last player of the above group that I would push in my chips for.

I want to draw attention to the most cogent post over at Lowetide which exactly sums up this situation:

SPEEDS says:

What’s the harm in playing the year out? Is Klefbom the kind of D that will post big points, enough to render all the other comps already out there useless?

Smart cookie.

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10 thoughts on “Doing It Again

  1. I really like your analysis here, but I do disagree overall. slightly north of $4 mil is the going rate for young standout d-men and there is very little risk that he won’t be worth the cap hit as his ceiling is much higher and he played well enough in my eyes this season to be worth it. As for the injury concerns if he does get injured the Oilers can put him on LTIR and avoid the cap hit.

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    1. Thing is Klefbom has NOT yet proved he is a stand out defenseman.

      The potential is there but there is also the potential that Nazem Kadri will become s stand out #1C.

      The Oilers are paying full price for that potential now after only 77 NHL games. They could have and should have waited until at least another half season.

      As for injury, short term injuries to key players are lethal cap killers.

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      1. I think that the reality of a cap world is that you have to take gambles on player and bet on their potential. I believe that this is a smart bet since in his albeit limited NHL games he’s been worth the money by my eye. Also every player has the threat of injuries and I’m not fully convinced that Klefbom is Injury prone. I definitely agree that this deal could end up being good or bad for the organization, but I certainly like the calculated risk that they took.

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  2. Given his age if he regresses they can buy him out at 1/3 of his contract even after the 3rd year of the contract at a cap hit of 700k, about. So its not as high risk as you make it sound

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    1. Yeah, that’s true…it is not the end of the world unless that 700K would put you over the cap after McDavid signs his second contract.

      I doubt he regresses to that extent in any case but my point is the Oilers didn’t have to make the bet now after only 77 games in the NHL.

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      1. Imagine they had given Shultz that contract after his first season.

        I guess my point is that you can get yourself into trouble with contracts like this. Columbus is a good example of what can happen. The team has a bunch of players locked up in 4 to 6 milion dollar per year deals and they are now running into cap issues before they have become a true contender.

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        1. Yep.

          If one assumes Schultz earns a new longer term contract above, say, $4M. the Oilers will have Sekera, Fayne, Klefbom and Schultz pulling down more than $16M and not one of them is a top pairing D on a good team.

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