Swedish d-man Oscar Klefbom isn't getting a lot of mention as a possibility to break the top-10 at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, but why not?
He's got the size, skating, shot, spirit/leadership and offensive potential to be one of those surprise early selections that gets everyone buzzing.
Working against him is his questionable hockey sense and lack of discipline when it comes to playing the position, but he is a physical presence who likes to take the body. While B2011DW could indict him by mentioning Klefbom in the same sentence as Bruins defender Johnny Boychuk, Klefbom has a higher ceiling but plays a similar style. He's faster and more powerful than Boychuk, but does struggle at times with making the right reads and gets caught pinching when he should stay home. As far as pure upside goes, Klefbom is significantly ahead of where Boychuk was at the same age.
So, while we're not comparing Klefbom to Boychuk, we are saying that there is some risk when you go for a guy who has the big shot, likes to hit but doesn't think the game as well as others. If Klefbom did, he's be right up there with Adam Larsson as a top-three candidate.
If the Bruins were to draft Klefbom ninth, it would certainly be a debated, even criticized pick. However, with his impressive offensive ceiling, exuberance and willingness to work at his shortcomings, this is one of those swing-for-the-fences type picks.
Here's what Red Line Report had to say about Klefbom in the 2011 Draft Guide: Could turn out to be the top d-man from this class. Needs to work on positional play and defensive awareness- gets lost in coverage at times. But overall, great upside. Team captain is a confident, take-charge guy and obvious team leader. Red Line also compared Klefbom style-wise to Brent Burns.
Again, B2011DW was blown away by how terrific Klefbom came off at the combine. We have to think that if he sold NHL teams on his character/personality as well as his impressive hockey acumen may have during the course of the season, then Klefbom just might be the kind of player the Bruins would roll the dice on. He's exactly the kind of guy they like- big, skilled, passionate. If he had the hockey sense in spades, he wouldn't be an option for them. It's something they might be willing to gamble on.
A week from tonight, we'll be sitting in the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota getting set up for the primetime coverage of the big event.
Bruins are the first Stanley Cup champion since the New York Islanders in 1983 to have a top-10 pick (Pat Lafontaine). They can afford to eschew safe for a little more risky with this one. Perhaps it will enable them to add to championship #6 instead of making their fans wait another long almost four decades for the next one.