‘He never played his best games against the tougher teams’: Klefbom reacts to the Taylor Hall trade

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When the Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson trade went down this summer, it’s safe to say that the majority of fans and media types believed that the Devils stole Hall from the Oilers. Larsson is a good player, but Taylor Hall is seen as a dynamic difference-maker who can put up points.

Well, if that’s how you see the trade, it sounds like Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom disagrees with you.

In an interview with a Swedish website, Klefbom had a few interesting things to say about the trade and the team’s off-season.

“Taylor has been our best player in recent years,” said Klefbom, per hockeysverige.se (all quotes have been translated). “But it’s also hard to tell what he has contributed. He never played his best games against the tougher teams, when we really needed it. However, he was fantastic when we met the little inferior teams.”

That seems pretty harsh considering Hall led the Oilers in goals (26) and points (65). Edmonton’s second-leading scorer was Jordan Eberle and he had just 45 points.

It’s also important to remember that Larsson and Klefbom are both from Sweden, but it still seems odd that Klefbom would take such a strong public stance on this trade.

Unless (a big) something was lost in translation, it certainly seems like Klefbom scorched Hall on the way out the door:

On a personal note, Klefbom says he feels good and he’ll enter the season at 100 percent after dealing with a foot infection last season.

The 23-year-old also added that he’s frustrated that the team keeps losing, but he’s happy with the role he’s been given.

“It’s clear that you never want to see your team lose, but the difference was that I felt proud of my role,” said Klefbom. “It was very flattering when you read the media and fans write that ‘now we see Klefbom’s greatness.’ There were even many who thought that I was needed more than McDavid, who was injured at the same time. It is clear that it gave my ego a boost.”

That’s also a pretty strange quote.


Oilers GM justifies Hall trade

Oilers coach has no problem with Taylor Hall trade

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.