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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Great, Good, Bad & Ugly of the Broberg Pick

For a week leading up to the draft everyone in the world and their grandmother, were linking the Oilers to Philip Broberg. It was so obvious that I couldn’t believe it, I wasn’t buying in, and I called it a smoke screen. Now I sit here in the second row of the media risers in Vancouver looking like a fool.

McKeen’s Hockey had Broberg 9th in their final rankings, one of the highest I’ve seen, and this what they had to say about him.

“While not strictly an offensive defenseman, Broberg is an incredible skater, who can pick up the puck in his own zone and be buzzing behind the opposing net in a flash. He gets to his top speed within two or three steps and take long, powerful strides to maintain his elite pace. While he is most often found skating in straight lines, he has the agility and edges to mix things up.”

The interesting thing about this pick is that you can spin it a number of different ways depending on the narrative you are taking. Here’s a look at every angle of the Oilers decision to take Broberg 8th overall.

THE GREAT:

This kid can absolutely fly. All you have to do is watch two or three minutes of his highlights and you can see that he is an elite skater. In today’s NHL game a defenseman who can skate the puck out of trouble and up the ice is worth his weight in gold. He has all of the physical tools to become an excellent defenseman; he will need the mental side of his game to catch up.

From McKeen’s:

“When carrying the puck, he instantly puts defenders back on their heels with his sheer ability to eat the ice. We get the sense that he doesn’t lead the rush as often as he could and that over time, he will get a better read on when he can and should take chances. He manages the puck smartly in his own zone and is known to make smart passes to break the puck out of his defensive zone.”

THE GOOD:

The Oilers future on the blueline looks as good as it has in as long as I can remember. With Broberg joining Evan Bouchard and Dmitri Samorukov the Oilers have three teenagers who project to be, at worst, top four d-men.

After asking around a little bit, I’m confident in saying the Oilers see Broberg and Bouchard as 1A and 1B on the top of their prospect list.

In addition to the “big three” on the backend, the Oilers also have Caleb Jones, Ethan Bear and William Lagesson developing nicely. Joel Persson will be coming to North America this season but I have no idea what to expect.

On top of all the prospects, Klefbom is only 25-years old and Darnell Nurse is 24.

By 2021-2022 the Oilers blueline should feature Nurse, Klefbom, Bouchard, Samorukov and Broberg. Or Nurse could be traded by July 1st, who the hell knows.

THE BAD:

I guess the bad could better be described as a mystery. I chatted with a few scouts after the Oilers pick yesterday and the best way to sum up their reaction is to say the scouting community thinks it was a mistake to draft him 8th overall.

One scout told me he plays the game with blinders meaning his on-ice vision has not yet developed. The first thing I thought of was a young Darnell Nurse who, even early in his NHL career, could skate the puck up the ice anytime he wanted but didn’t really know what to do with it after that. Nurse’s game has come a long way in that aspect so I don’t think it’s unfair to think Broberg can’t develop the same way.

THE UGLY:

The reaction to the Broberg pick was negative but I have seen the selection starting to grow on a few folks.

The problem the Oilers will have in the future is if Broberg doesn’t pan out it will be very easy for everyone to point to Trevor Zegras going to the Ducks with the very next selection. Zegras was by far the consensus best player available at the time the Oilers selected the Swedish defenseman. I know many of you wanted to see the Oilers take Caufield but he ended up sliding to the Habs at 15, Zegras being the very next pick will be the player we keep tabs on for the next five to ten years.

AND REMEMBER…

From 2009 to 2017 there were five Swedish defensemen selected in the top ten. Victor Hedman, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Adam Larsson, Jonas Brodin and Hampus Lindholm. I don’t think you can say that any of those players didn’t live up to expectations. If Broberg can become as good as any one of those defencemen this will be a good pick for the Oilers. In 2018 Rasmus Dahlin went first overall and looks amazing while Adam Boqvist was selected 8th overall by Chicago and appears to be trending in the right direction. A Swedish defenseman in the top ten usually works out just fine.

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Previously by Dustin Nielson:



    • HockeyRooster

      Today? More like always. Same whiners whining. Everyone wants to bag on klowe for being the smartest guy in the room. What I see here is a bunch of key board warriors who are merely the smartest guy in their Mom’s basement.

      • CMG30

        That’s not fair. The Oilers have a long history of terrible draft day decisions. In fact, if the Oilers had simply dumped their entire scouting department and gone by the central scouting service list for the entire decade of darkness, this team would be farther ahead. Of course we probably woundnt have McDavid since the team would have been more competitive so I guess the moral of the story us that it’s good we suck at drafting….?

        • Nellzo

          You are correct. The Lowe, Tambellini and Mactavish Oilers did make bad picks. Chiarellis Oilers, for all his faults, made good picks. Let’s let Hollands draft record speak for itself.

  • hags437

    I’ve read a ton about Broberg in the last 24 hours or so and what I haven’t been seeing are comments on this kids age. The kid only turns 18 on Tuesday. He’s been playing against men the last year as a 17 year old. That’s impressive to me. Scouts are commenting that his on ice vision hasn’t developed yet. Really? As a 17 year old? Weird.
    Relax everyone…this kid…AT 17 is 6’3” 200lbs and can fly! His hockey sense will only improve and he’s no where near the NHL yet.

  • Serious Gord

    So everyone in the scouting world thought he was a bad pick at #8.

    Guess I’m not alone then.

    And that holland was set on him for ages – making no real secret of it apparently.

    • TruthHurts98

      Unless you have no scoring depth and headed to another top 5 pick next season. Fans won’t be so patient during the year trust me. But in 3-4 years this team should be a lot better. It’s going to take a while to dig out of this DOD 2.0

      • All Ice

        Next season was gonna be a high pick again no matter what. I know fans are sick of waiting but Chia dug a hole too deep to just jump out of. Next season was a write off from the get go. To much cap taken up, a smaller rise in the cap then usual and too many large multi year contracts that can’t be traded or bought out. The long plan sucks for us but is the smart move. Next summer Gagne, Brodziak and Manning are all off the books. Both Russel and Sekera become much easier to trade or buyout. Our good D prospects will be close or ready and on entry contracts. Leaves room for higher paid wingers if our current prospects aren’t top six or not ready yet. Goaltending is the biggest long term issue if we can’t develop in house as a good goalie by trade or free agency is expensive and Kosk will still have two years in an expensive contract

  • CMG30

    The Oilers have a history of over valuing the wrong things in players. I suspect they did that again here. One of their scouts ‘saw him good’ at a tournament and seemed to have the GM’s ear and here we are. None of this is to say that Broberg will wash out. With proper development he could really shine. But he falls in the high risk, high reward category for me. Folks would be a lot less upset if the Oilers had traded down a few spots to pick this guy up.