There are still some NHL teams that are hesitant to give big money contract extensions to young players before they absolutely have to. They want to pay for results, not potential. The Edmonton Oilers are obviously not one of those teams.
According to TSN's Ryan Rishaug, the Oilers have agreed to terms with defenseman Oscar Klefbom on a seven-year contract extension that is expected to be finalized in the next 24-48 hours. The deal will reportedly be worth more than $4 million per season.
It's a huge investment in a player that has appeared in only 77 NHL games over the past two years, especially when you consider he is going to have a larger salary cap hit than more established player like Jake Muzzin, Victor Hedman, Roman Josi, Cam Fowler, John Carlson and Travis Hamonic.
It's a gamble, but one that could also prove to be worth in the very near future if Klefbom continues on the path he has started on in his career. Klefbom was one of the few bright spots on a bad Oilers defensive unit this past season, recording two goals and 18 assists in 60 games. While the offensive numbers don't really jump off the page, he has shown signs of being a solid defensive player and started to see an increased role this past season following the trade of veteran Jeff Petry, and he handled it quite well.
Klefbom, who just turned 22 in July, was still going to be under team control for the next five years before he would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency but this deal buys out what would have potentially been his first two years of UFA eligibility.
The Oilers selected him with the second of their two first-round draft picks in 2011 (No. 19 overall -- the same year they took Ryan Nugent-Hopkins No. 1 overall). The Oilers had that pick as a part of the 2011 trade that sent Dustin Penner to the Los Angeles Kings.
Edmonton has attempted to strengthen its defense this offseason after finishing 30th in the league in goals against in 2014-15 with the additions of Andrej Sekera (free agency) and Griffin Reinhart (trade with the New York Islanders). They also acquired goaltender Cam Talbot in a trade from the New York Rangers.