The Oilers have selected with the eighth overall pick at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft Philip Broberg. This selection, which was rumoured to be who the Oilers would select, will cause mixed reactions.
Broberg finished at fifth on Central Scouting’s International Skaters Listing and found himself absent from the conversation for the majority of the season. While it is true that Broberg had an excellent showing at the Hlinka-Gretzky under-18 tournament that was in August of 2018. Broberg then had a strong performance at the U 18 World Championships in mid to late April. Broberg rejoined the conversation. And the Oilers must have liked what they heard because they selected him well before many earlier projections expected.
The Swedish defender is 6’ 3” tall and 198 pounds. He seems almost slight which would be a liability for him at the NHL level. Scouting reports indicate that he makes excellent use of his size and strength and is difficult to play in all three zones. Which runs almost counter to his appearance.
Draft profiles are quick to point out that Broberg has more experience in playing against older and stronger players. However, these comparisons don’t seem to cast Broberg favourably. Made invisible against older, stronger players, Broberg’s notable successes have come against his own age cohort.
Broberg’s strengths include his offensive mindset and his ability to chip in on offense. He’s considered to be an elite skater and is able to jump into plays. These strengths are complementary to some of the Oilers current weaknesses in defense. Defenders who are gifted at both ends of the ice aren’t exactly something the Oilers have a surfeit of.
His comparables include Klingberg, Provorov, and Ristolainen.
However, Broberg has some legitimate concerns for Oilers fans (and management I would imagine to consider).
First he struggled with illness during the season which is why he hasn’t had consistent high ranking by central scouting. What does long-term production look like for Broberg? All of the buzz around him is based on two tournaments. They’re short and intense situations.
His 41 games in the HockeyAllsvenskan (Swedish Second Division Hockey) saw Broberg net only two goals and seven assists. Nine points in over forty games is not exactly something which has wow factor.
Second, there are questions around both his puck moving and hockey sense. The Oilers can legitimately not afford another defender who makes passes which end up in the back of their own net
Third, the Oilers need solutions now. They’re a team with a horrible record, cap space issues, an upset fanbase, and a superstar who may become agitated if they continue to lose. A defender, especially one who is supposed to mature into an elite defender, is not generally NHL ready at 18. If Klefbom’s general trajectory is used than Broberg still has a couple more seasons of development before he’s ready to make a positive impact for the Oilers. Also, the Oilers don’t have the best record at developing talent right now.
As Holland’s fist chance to impress Oilers fans, this may not be a successful move. Hopefully, it allows the Oilers to continue to build their defensive core and possible give the Oilers some flexibility around acquiring some scoring.