‘We’re going to build a good, deep, big defence’: Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland speaks after drafting Philip Broberg 8th overall

Nearly three hours after selection Swedish defenceman Philip Broberg eighth overall, Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland met with members of the media.

Below is be a full transcription of his media availability.

Did you think he’d be there at 8th overall?

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“Certainly we had our list. There was a lot of good players at the top part of the draft. We knew we were going to get a good player. We’re excited to get Philip.”

Why did you go defence over forward with some of the players still available?

“I think if you’re gonna have a good team in the National Hockey League, you have to have a good defence. You know, those teams that go for long playoff run, set up good defense, deep defense, big defense, and we’re going to build a good deep, big defense.”

Question about drafting a Swede was influenced by having Nick Lindstrom in Detroit. 

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“You’re going way back in time. I think back to our team in ’08 that we won the cup, and obviously, we had Lindstrom, we had Rafalski, we had Kronwall, we have Brad Stewart, we had a… really top notch top four. When we acquired Brad Stewart, but he was a different dimension to the other three guys. (They were) all mobile, they can skate, they can handle the puck, they could get back and pivot, turn the net and get the puck snapped up to our forwards hands. That’s part of the thinking in this selection. And I would say to you that certainly coming in, and I mean, I’m certainly aware that we need forwards. But I also know that you got to have a good defense. If you have a good defense, it’s got to be deep. It’s got to be talented. And I think that that’s really important in the world in the league today.
And Broberg can escape, transport, pass the park, get back, move the puck. and I think, you know, the hockey IQ that you’re talking about.”

Holland also said you don’t really know what you have when you draft a player until the next couple of years “how good all these players are today.”

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“We’re excited to get a six foot three puck moving, puck transporting defenseman.”

What’s the plan for Broberg? Does he stay in Sweden?

“Well, we talked to him yesterday, his rights are owned by Hamilton of the OHL. I think he’s open to going to Hamilton. We’re going to talk to him next few days.”

Where do you project him?

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“We’re hoping, believing he’s going to be a top-four defenceman. we have we’ve obviously got lots of other young defenseman. The reality is, you know, to play defense in the National Hockey League, you’re probably got to be 21, 22, 23 years of age. You know, he’s, he’s 18. He’s got two years of junior left to go out and we’ll see if he goes to Hamilton or he stays in Sweden, I got to talk to him. We got to talk to him, his representatives. And then, you know, we gotta make sure that he develops and becomes an NHL defenseman, you can’t rush him. He needs to play at a league where he’s important. And he plays lots of minutes.”

What’s the trade market like? 

“I’ve had lots and lots and lots of coffee. I was on the phone all day long (and) in the last few days. You never really know. I mean, I’ve talked to lots of teams about lots of different things. I’ve talked to lots and lots of teams. We’ll see. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.”

More on Puljujarvi.

“I’m going to do a deal when think it’s it’s a good deal, a fair deal. he’s not the fourth overall pick today. Where is he today? That’s what I’m going to try to figure out.”

Preference on Broberg in Hamilton or Sweden.

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“Well, I got great respect for Canadian Junior hockey. They play lots of games and on an NHL-sized rank, they got to be on the bus. It’s hard, it’s physical and you get to test it. And when you have a bad game, you got to get back on the bus and you gotta go play again. So certainly, you know, when you play in Europe, they don’t play quite as many games and they practice a little bit more. I think the most important thing is that when you’re a young player is that you play. (If he’s going to be) important on the team over there, then I’ll certainly listen. If he’s going to be a five-six (defenceman) then I think he’s good but he’s best served to be over here.”

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Was there any talks of Edmonton moving down?

“I had one call, but we made a decision to stick.”

Broberg taking time to develop.

“We certainly believe he’s going to be a top four defenseman. I like to have a big defense. You know, you can have some small but i think you know, you saw the two teams in the finals, Some small defenseman where there’s lots of bigger, rangeier defenceman.”

On free agency and the team’s next moves. 

“We’ve got to get some forwards. I think we have seven NHL defenseman on one way contracts. Certainly I gotta sign a goaltender or acquire a goaltender between now and training camp. I’m looking for some cheaper forwards that can play. At the same time, I think we’d like to get a guy that can be playing in our top-six if possible.”

On Twitter: @zjlaing


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  • HockeyKnowledge

    I haven’t been this excited to have a gm like this ever. We are very lucky to have someone that does what he says. Im excited to see what we do in day 2 of the draft and all so during free agency. I just really want mcdavid wins the cup with us in the next couple years. Would be amazing for him and especially the city. Go oilers go. Also broberg was a good pick imo. Hedman 2.0.

  • Danger Pay

    Has Holland even looked at the Oilers depth chart? Bouchard, Jones, Laggeson, Bear on the way, with Lucic, Khaira, Benson on the LW with Zegras and Boldy available. Broberg 3-5 years away, we need wingers now!!!!!!!!

    • GM-macT

      Wingers are a dime a dozen, look a Chaisson. Finding cheap scoring wingers is much much easier than big mobile puck moving D. These guys never hit the free market and are rarely ever traded. You have to draft high end defenseman if you want one

    • Hockeysense9393

      I love how fans with absolutely no knowledge on how these drafts work…try to weigh in with meaningless banter and anger. *Danger…you just answered yourself with your own rant. Picking a winger today is not going to get you one to play today. That winger will still be a year or two away (at least). Now as a team, you’re strengths are become defence…right now and for the next year or two. So now as a team you have excess prospects in a position that you can afford to trade for need. Which would ultimately be wingers “today”. I think the Oilers brass has really screwed with some of their fans heads with how a team should actually be built.

    • Homer

      We’ve rushed every draft pick into the line up for the last 15 years and we all know how that’s worked. I feel like Holland is a breath of fresh air who actually has a plan. Forwards are way easier to acquire then stud dmen so having a pile of defence so we can make trades from a position of strength sounds wise to me. No more PC trading for Manning is ever happening again

  • billsbills

    I get it, I really do. But your goal as the GM is to rarely and only by trade to ever pick that high in the standings. If you’re going off the board when high skilled forwards are available, you better be damn sure.

    • GM-macT

      They probably could’ve traded down and still gotten him but I don’t think they wanted to risk it. Sounded like they were pretty set on him, from what they were saying all along

      • billsbills

        Only time will tell. But when we read articles like the one written saying the Oilers would have been better without a GM and making picks off Bob Mackenzie’s draft list. I get a little concerned. Especially when you have higher ranked players available.

  • Fireball

    I would had taken a forward.. but then again I’m a bar stool prophet not a NHL GM. As Ken Holland said.. no one will know what they got for a few years. They hope / see / project him as a top four NHL Dman. Let’s hope he’s right. My guy went at 7. I’d guess they project him as a top 6 forward but no one will know that for a few years either.

  • Hemi

    Very happy with our GM right now. Sure, we got a bucket full of defencemen but this pick, a damn good one, will not be ready for a couple of years. Pretty sure by the time he is NHL ready, we will be needing his skills. The drafting of Broberg was not for today but for the future. KH and KG knows what they are doing. Deals are eminent! Go OIL.

  • Ass Eatn Szn 69

    also draft BPA,

    picture the draft like this, there is money spread out all over the table, coins and bills. at the draft your goal should be to come up with the most money, not finish your coin collection. Now if you have to many 10 dollar bills and you need a 5 a toonie and three loonies, you can trade the 10 dollar bill for them. You dont say no, im going to leave the 10 dollar bill there and take this toonie because i need one.

    Oilers have been taking toonies for years, simply because they weigh more

  • blobbo

    Chiarelli traded Hall for defense. It was a poor trade but it does reveal how difficult it can be to acquire a defenseman in a trade. Home grown is best and, if you have too many good defensemen, they’re good trade bait.

    This is the Holland era. He makes boring, safe moves. Get used to it. Anybody who thinks we should have drafted a forward for immediate help hasn’t been paying attention to the Puljujärvi experiment.


    I also was on the side to draft a shooting winger or Dach/Cozens if they fell to us, however this is the same group that picked some great Defence in the later rounds that we know are seeing as real players in our organization.
    Bouchard, Broberg are 1st rounders the rest are steals so looks like they have a good eye for def. Jones, Bear, Sam, Lagesson, Berglund and Peerson(UFA)

    • ROILYDoGG$

      Maybe he turns into a bigger version of Eric Karlson? Try obviously found something that was special about the kid, maybe him playing Forward till he was 12 ?
      Attending the Gretz/Helinka against kids his own age he really stood out and dominated in his age group. Back in Europe he plays against men, I’m excited to see what this kid brings at camp.