(To read the previous installment of the 2019 Draft Preview about Vasili Podkolzin click here)
The 2019 Draft is quickly approaching for the Edmonton Oilers and speculation on who the Oilers will draft at #8 is ramping up.
In the latest edition of this Draft Preview series I chronicled the chances of, skilled Russian forward, Vasili Podkolzin coming to Edmonton. Podkolzin shares a lot in common with other prominent names rumoured to be on Ken Holland’s radar. The likes of Kirby Dach, Cole Caufield, Trevor Zegras, and Matthew Boldy are all skilled forwards that have been universally connected to Edmonton, but what if the team added to their defence with the #8 pick?
Swedish defender Philip Broberg has certainly been making a case for the Oilers to do just that.
Who is Philip Broberg?
Philip Broberg is a 6-foot-3 left handed defenceman who spent last season playing for AIK in Allsvenskan, one league below Sweden’s premier SHL.
The Athletic’s Corey Pronman, the gold standard when it comes to hockey prospects, recently wrote an extensive overview of Broberg’s strengths and weaknesses.
In Pronman’s analysis, Broberg’s biggest strength on the ice is his skating. His ability to gain speed in such a short amount of time makes him very effective when it comes to breaking out of his own zone. His transition game, because of his speed, is also very good. Broberg can move from the defensive zone to the offensive zone in no time and has the ability to create scoring chances because of it. Pronman suggests that Broberg is the second-best pure skater in this year’s draft class behind only Jack Hughes.
His defensive game is also helped by his elite-level skating. Broberg is able to win the majority of footraces in his own zone and is very difficult to beat wide on the rush. His decision-making is not always the greatest but he has shown flashes of brilliance when it comes to reading plays and intercepting passing plays. Yet, like most young players, Broberg does have a tendency to overthink a simple play which can lead to some nasty looking turnovers.
Unfortunately, Broberg is not the elite level puck-mover that Edmonton has been searching for but he is a responsible defenceman that has very good speed and, most of the time, great awareness.
Despite all his shortcomings, Broberg is still universally accepted as the second best defender in the 2019 NHL draft class behind Bowen Byram.
Draft Day Projection
Philip Broberg has done some jumping around on draft rankings in the past year.
However, since then there seems to have been a consensus by most of the premier draft analysts that Philip Broberg will most likely be chosen in the 7-12 range. With some speculation that he could potentially go even higher.
Does Edmonton Make Sense?
In recent weeks there has been an increasing amount of speculation drawing connections between Broberg and Edmonton.
Corey Pronman’s most recent mock draft actually had the Oilers selecting Philip Broberg at #8, justifying it by mentioning Brobergs potential to move to the NHL quicker than other prospects available in that range.
Edmonton is always in need of skilled defenceman and Pronman even mentioned that Broberg is a better player than Evan Bouchard...but I am not entirely convinced that Edmonton will be announcing his name come June 21st.
Philip Broberg is a very skilled defender that possess great speed and some puck skills, but there are a few things that could draw the Oilers away from him.
First and foremost is the main flaw within his game. The fact that Broberg is not a great passer or puck-mover is huge for an Oilers team that has lacked a premier puck-moving defenceman since Chris Pronger. While his speed might be a big bonus, the Oilers are in the market for a puck-moving defenceman more than anything else on the backend.
There is also questions about his handedness. Broberg is a left-handed defender and the Oilers are a team that are notable for their so called “leftorium” on their back-end. It isn’t a secret that right-handed defenders are more valuable in the NHL and, while Broberg’s talent could easily render this point mute, I think Ken Holland takes it into consideration.
Lastly, we have to touch on the draft philosophy of drafting the BPA (best player available). While Broberg has jumped into the the top 10 in most draft rankings as of late I have a hard time believing that he will be the best player available when the Oilers go up at #8. Guys like Vasili Podkolzin, Dylan Cozens, Kirby Dach, and Trevor Zegras are all players that COULD potentially be available and I think all of them are better players than Broberg at this moment. Obviously this could be very different 3 years from now but at this point I believe it to be true.
Philip Broberg is one of the fastest skaters in this year’s draft class and is the second best defender. His speed is undeniable and his skillset as a 6-foot-3 defender is very impressive.
He may very well be the guy that the Oilers choose when draft day is upon us. Having a guy like Broberg added Edmonton’s growing collection of talented young D-men would look very good and I have no doubt that he would eventually develop into a top pairing defender in the NHL.
However, I do believe that Ken Holland and the rest of the Oilers scouting department will take a look at the very same points that I mentioned and decide to go elsewhere.
That isn’t to say that selecting Broberg would be a bad idea...just that I don’t necessarily see the club going that direction with the pick.
If it is any consolation...I do think Philip Broberg has a better chance at being selected by the Oilers than Vasili Podkolzin.