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Oilers' Klefbom could miss 2020-21 season

Gregg Forwerck / National Hockey League / Getty

It appears Oscar Klefbom's 2020-21 campaign is in jeopardy.

The Edmonton Oilers defenseman is dealing with a nagging shoulder injury that general manager Ken Holland says could keep him off the ice next season.

"I’m planning for 2020-21 that Oscar is not playing and anything other than that will be a surprise. A pleasant surprise," Holland said, according to the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson.

Klefbom, 27, has already undergone multiple shoulder procedures over his seven-year career, most recently leaving the team for surgery in March 2018. The injury kept him out for nine contests toward the end of the 2019-20 regular season, but he appeared in all four of the club's postseason games this summer.

The 6-foot-3 blue-liner is an integral piece of the Oilers' defense corps and one of the league's premier minute munchers. Klefbom has paced the club in average ice time over four consecutive seasons and ranked fifth among all players in that department (25:25) in 2019-20. He also added five goals and 34 points over 62 games.

Edmonton added rearguard Tyson Barrie in free agency this offseason, but Holland says he doesn't plan on making any more moves to fill the defensive hole.

"Yes, we could always use one more (defenseman), but we’re fine right for now," Holland said. “We’ve got (William) Lagesson signed. If we get (Ethan) Bear signed, then we’ve also (got) Bouchard … I’m watching how Evan’s playing in Europe. He’ll be back for our training camp."

The start date for the 2020-21 campaign remains unclear, but the league's target is Jan. 1.

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