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This just in from the Edmonton Oiles, news that the team has placed the following players on waivers:

Jujhar Khaira Jersey
Patrick Russell Jersey
・Joakim Nygard
Anton Forsberg Jersey
Alan Quine Jersey

My take
1. The Edmonton Oilers are balancing numerous interests in making this move, such as getting in under the salary cap to start the season and trying to determine which players they might lose by waiving them and how much that will impact their roster if that player is scooped up on waivers.

2. Khaira is a big tough fourth line forward who can help a team on the penalty kill. But he makes $1.2 million and there will likely be other players making less than will be more attractive to other teams if they’re looking for a forward. Unless a team is desperate for toughness, they’re unlikely to pick up Khaira on waivers.

3. Could the Vancouver Canucks have some interest in Khaira, who is from Surrey, B.C.? Again, I doubt it, as Vancouver is also struggling to get in under the cap.

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4. As for Joakim Nygard Jersey, I think he’s a solid two-way NHL bottom line winger, one with great speed and tenacity. But he’s unproven and had just three goals in 33 games last year. He was something of a prized signing for the Oilers out of the Swedish league in 2019, and perhaps one of the other teams that pursued him then will now be keen on him. It’s unlikely but Nygard would be a useful addition to many NHL teams.

5. The Oilers have Devin Shore, an experienced NHL forward, on a try-out contract at this short camp. If Khaira does get scooped up, Shore’s chances of getting a contract shoot up, especially as centre Gaetan Haas Jersey has yet to practice.

6. I don’t expect the Oilers to pick up any players off waivers, given the team’s camp constraints.

7. As for the other players waived, Forsberg, Quine and Russell, they’re all strong candidates for the Oil’s taxi squad.

Oscar Klefbom Jersey has been tormented by chronic shoulder pain his entire NHL career, accepting it as part of the deal as a professional athlete.

But now that it’s invaded his personal life, the 27-year-old defenceman has no choice but to step away from the game, unsure of when, or if, he will ever come back.

All he knows right now is his first priority is finding a medical procedure that can free him from the constant ache.

“It was getting to the point where I was not sleeping right and it was taking away a lot of the private life, it’s a tough way of living,” he said on a video conference from Sweden.

“It’s one thing to be on the ice and take some pain medication and anti-inflams and all that, play though it, but when you can’t sleep or put your clothes on properly, it comes to a point where your body says: ‘No, you should not do this anymore.’

“I don’t want to be on pain meds 24-7 and not really have a worthwhile private life.”

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So, the decision to sit out the season was no decision at all. As much as he wants to be around the boys on a team that plans on finally turning a corner, Klefbom can’t deal with the side effects any longer.

“It’s tough to tell the guys and the management that I need to (step away), but I love hockey and want to get back playing and this is a decision I had to do.

“It’s been bad for a while and I’ve been playing through a lot of pain. It’s one thing to have a lot of pain at the rink. You have a lot of adrenaline and you play through it. But once you get home and you have trouble getting the rest you need, and your mood and everyone around you is affected too, you need to listen to your body and be smart.”

The whole issue started on one play as a junior-aged player in Sweden and it’s been haunting him ever since. He had surgery as a young kid and only played more than 66 games once in his eight-year Oilers career as he battled an issue that refused to give him a break.

“It was one time when I played in Farjestads and I kind of separated my shoulder pretty badly,” he said. “What I’ve heard is there’s a risk for arthritis and other things when you have the kind of surgery that I had in my younger days. It’s been something that’s been going on for a while, obviously.”

So Klefbom and the medical staff will search for a solution, with every option on the table, even as dramatic as shoulder replacement surgery, in an effort to ease his daily pain, because this is no way for a guy to live.

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He also knows it might be an either-or situation: Yes, they can fix his shoulder, but no, he can’t play hockey again or he’ll be right back where he is right now.

“It’s different, for sure, when you start thinking about your future as a human outside the rink, having kids and not being able to lift your son up. It’s crazy. Life is bigger than hockey, obviously, so I want to get this fixed.”

Of course, he’s considered his career might be over, but he’s not there yet. Not by a long shot.

“I’m going to try and stay positive. I love the game of hockey and I want to get back playing. I don’t want to fold my cards. This isn’t how I want to live my life. I want to be in North America playing hockey. I want make this shoulder the best I can to get back playing.

“I am 100 per cent confident in the (medical staff). They’re doing everything they can to find the best solution for me. If that’s surgery or getting some kind of shoulder replacement, or some kind of treatments to make it better so I can get back playing, that’s up to the medical staff. I have 100 per cent trust in them.”

To complicate matters, the pandemic is stalling everything, making it difficult to see a specialist in Cleveland and chart out a course of action.

“I would like to get the surgery as soon as possible, but with travelling and going into different countries, it’s tough. It’s a crazy situation for everyone, including me.”

As he contemplates his future, Klefbom is reminded of what Ryan Smyth Jersey said before the final game of his career: “It’s really hard to get into the NHL, but it’s even harder to leave.”

If it’s over, it would be heartbreaking — just having to sit out a year is hard enough — but living in pain all this time also has him considering his long-term future away from the rink.

“I want to continue living my dream and playing hockey. But when the pain is making my private life really hard, you want to be smart.

“I’m hoping to have a long life with a wife and kids some day, so I’m trying to see it from a different angle, but the main focus is getting back and playing hockey again.”

8. Here are today’s lines at the Oilers practice:

RNH-McDavid-Kassian

Kahun-Draisaitl-Yamamoto

Archibald-Turris-Puljujarvi

Ennis-McLeod-Chiasson

9. Ryan McLeod Jersey gets a chance in practice today. Is he ready for the NHL? He’s big and fast. The question is whether he can asset himself on defence, cover down low, and advance the puck out with the d-men. That’s a work in progress with him.

P.S. Edmonton media interviewed Oscar Klefbom today, and Reid Wilkens of CHED offered this summary on Twitter: Oscar Klefbom says, “The shoulder is getting better.” Says he’s still looking at options and surgery so he can feel better overall. Klefbom says he doesn’t want to be on pain meds 24/7 and have pain that affects his life away from hockey. Adds he misses playing hockey, says surgery, shoulder replacement could be options to fix the problem. Klefbom emphasizing pain has been really affecting his private life, including trouble sleeping. Says, “The main focus is getting back playing hockey again.” Klefbom says he’ll have a good discussions with the Oilers medical team to find a solution. He says ideally he’d like to see a doctor in Cleveland to get some answers. Says it’s a big decision to get the surgery done. Klefbom says his shoulder is better since he hasn’t been playing, but “this is not the life I want. I want to be back in North American playing hockey. I’m not in that shape right now.” Klefbom on when he needs to have surgery to be ready for Sept: “I don’t really see it that way right now with everything that’s going on. I would like to get the surgery done as soon as possible, but with travelling and going into different countries and all that and obviously getting surgery in the end, it’s tough to find a pretty good solution with COVID and everything.” Adds, “I don’t really put pressure on myself to get the surgery done. I still want to want to get it done in the end, but the way it looks right now in the world, I just see it from a different perspective, I guess.”

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Based on this interview, it doesn’t sound Klefbom is going to be with the Oilers any time soon, if ever. Good luck to him. He was a strong NHL player when he was more healthy in 2017. It sounds like he’s now dealing with chronic pain from that shoulder, so I have the greatest of sympathy for his situation and him taking time on the decision he must now make.

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The Edmonton Oilers organization has repeatedly squandered its talent, sometimes because it couldn’t afford that talent, sometimes because it couldn’t keep it happy here in Edmonton, but most recently because the organization lacked the managerial competence to hold on to the right players.

Today we’re going to deal with that last aspect of the sad tale of how Edmonton has let go of all too many OK-to-great NHL players, as we ponder the question: Will the Oilers finally get it right this time with its current talented group.

Broberg was a breakout performer along with Russian winger Vasily Podkolzin, who had eight goals and went to Vancouver 10th in 2019.

Swedish winger Lucas Raymond, who was only 16 then but on their No. 1 line, just went fourth overall to Detroit, and the multi-talented Alexis Lafreniere, went first overall to the New York Rangers in October.

Podkolzin and Raymond are back for this world juniors. Lafreniere is not.

Broberg won’t double-dip and stick around for Oilers training camp when the world juniors are over here Jan. 6. They want the teenager to concentrate on his game back home. They love Broberg’s upside but have a full complement of D — Evan Bouchard, William Lagesson and Frolunda’s Theodor Lennstrom, a veteran on a one-year contract who plays with more pace than Joel Persson — to battle for the seventh and eighth D slots.

“I talked to Philip a week ago and I told him he will go back to Skelleftea until the end of their season and then come back to Edmonton or Bakersfield once they’re done,” said Oilers GM Ken Holland.

“We had a long discussion about what was best for me and the future,” said Broberg. “I think I played really well for the training camp for the (August) playoffs and was looking for a spot on the team but I respect their (Oilers) decision and I’ll go back develop more and I’ll be ready for the NHL when I come back. We have a strong team. I believe we can win it all.”

Not only do the Oilers have high end NHL talent in Connor McDavid Jersey, Leon Draisaitl Jersey, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Jersey and Darnell Nurse Jersey, they have in the last few years put together an impressive prospect base, both in terms of players who are already gaining ground in the NHL and with prospects soon to do so.

The team’s young NHLers include Kailer Yamamoto Jersey, Ethan Bear Jersey and Caleb Jones Jersey, with those with a decent chance of making the NHL in the next handful of years including Philip Broberg Jersey, Evan Bouchard Jersey, Dylan Holloway, Raphael Lavoie, Dmitri Samorukov, Ryan McLeod Jersey, Tyler Benson Jersey, William Lagesson Jersey, Carter Savoie and Michael Kesselring. Jesse Puljujarvi Jersey is also in the mix.

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It’s easily the most talented group of under-25 players in Edmonton since the early 1980. That famous group competed for Stanley Cups until then owner Peter Pocklington sold and traded them off, one by one, because he couldn’t afford them. This trading away off of veteran stars continued until the Collective Bargaining Agreement of 2005 and the city’s boom economy in that same era changed the economic formula here.

Yet, maddeningly, the franchise was still unable to hold on to top talent, largely because of managerial incompetence during the Decade of Darkness.

In previous deaces, a few buddings stars and vital role players slipped through Edmonton’s fingers, such as Walt Poddubny in 1981 and Shaun Van Allen, Martin Gelinas Jersey, Kirk Matlby, Niro Satan and Martin Rucinsky in the 1990s. But from 2008 to 2019, it seemed like every year the Oilers found a way to shed a useful young veteran player from the roster, often getting little back in return.

The Decade of Darkness commenced in February 2007 when the organization traded off its final big star over a money issue, with Ryan Smyth Jersey leaving for New York, a move that was arguably wise cap management in the moment but came back to haunt the team, as Smyth managed to continue to play well in the NHL.

After that came a series of iffy trades that meant for years Edmonton had a missing middle, a lack of useful vets in their NHL primes between the ages of 23 and 29.

June 2008
Oilers trade Matt Greene, 25, and Jarret Stoll Jersey, 26, for Lubo Visnovsky. Stoll and Greene would go on to play seven solid seasons in LA, winning two Cups. Stoll was a third line centre, Greene a bottom pairing d-man.

July 2008
Oilers trade Raffi Torres Jersey, 26, for Gilbert Brule. Torres would have four more productive NHL seasons as a third line winger.