Published June 20, 2011
Jonas Brodin and Oscar Klefbom were born in the same Swedish city, are left-handed shots, play the same position on the same team and consider Detroit Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Heck, they're practically brothers and have spent the last two seasons as teammates with Farjestad in Sweden's Elitserien. But besides the fact Brodin is eight days older, they also have differing styles along the blue line.
Brodin is the two-way defender who happens to showcase tremendous poise and calmness in the heat of battle. It's rare that he's beat one-on-one and will sacrifice his body for the perfect outlet pass off the transition. The 6-foot-1, 169-pound Brodin needs to bulk up, however.
"Brodin is a very mature D-man with good mobility, smarts and coolness," NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb told NHL.com. "He's effective in one-on-one situations. He has an OK frame, but could use a little more weight."
Klefbom, meanwhile, is prone to take more risks with the puck. It isn't necessarily a bad thing, either, as he's developed into an exceptional skater off the transition. Unlike Brodin, his defensive partner in Farjestad, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Klefbom prefers a free-wheeling style.
"Of course I take risks, but it also depends on who you play with … I can do that with Jonas," Klefbom told NHL.com.
Unfortunately for Klefbom, the odds he and Brodin are selected by the same team at the 2011 Entry Draft aren't very good. Unless, of course, a team somehow can gain back-to-back picks, or something close to it, to make certain the two players remain teammates for the foreseeable future.
"I think I'm a two-way defender," Klefbom told NHL.com. "I'm good in the D-zone and good in the offensive zone. I can fill it up and help the forwards get the puck into the net. You always can improve your shot and be better, but I think I have good opportunities to get good in both zones."
"Oscar had some injury problems during the season, but has become very steady," Stubb said. "I'm absolutely sure he'll be a first-round pick."
Klefbom captained Sweden's team at the World Under-18 Championship to a silver medal, producing 1 goal, 4 points and a plus-4 rating in six games. He also generated 24 shots on net, tops among all defensemen on the team.
"I'm contracted to play in Sweden another year but I'd be willing to play in North America depending on the situation," Klefbom said. "In Farjestad I know I have opportunities to get really good, so it feels good."
Brodin is No. 3 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of European skaters, while Klefbom is No. 6. They're second and third, respectively, among blueliners; only Skelleftea's Adam Larsson, Central Scouting's No. 1-ranked European skater, is ahead of them among defensemen.
"Adam is a really good player," Klefbom said. "I played against him four games in the Swedish Elite League and know he's a big, strong defender, good skater, good hands, good shot and good hockey sense. Outside the rink he's pretty quiet. He doesn't say much, but he's a good guy and he's respected on the ice."
Klefbom feels his game might be similar to Larsson's.
"We're pretty much the same," he said. "I tried to be like him -- big and powerful skater capable of playing physical. We both have a good shot."
Brodin, who also is under contract in Sweden but willing to make the jump to North America, feels Larsson is more polished than him offensively.
"He's much better on offense than me," Brodin said. "He's a really great player. I see him playing in the NHL next year."
Now, just days away from finding out where they're headed next, Brodin and Klefbom are hoping for the best at the Entry Draft.
"I've played with Jonas for four years and he's a very good guy outside the rink as well, but on the ice he's a good skater, good hockey sense, and can handle the puck well … he's an all-round defender," Klefbom said. "Maybe he could be bigger, but I think he wouldn't lose speed or power."
"It was fun being paired together," Brodin said. "We're best friends and I wish him the best. He's strong and a good skater. Everyone knows he has leadership skills since he was captain of the U-18 team at the World Championship … and he was a good leader."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter: @mike_morreale