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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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…

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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:



  • 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.

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    Put it like this. The oilers pulled up at the gas station because they’re low on gas. They then proceed to fill up the tires.

    That’s my take on this pick. Can he pan out? Sure? Can he help eventually? Yes he could. Does he help now? Not a chance. Congratulations Holland, you first draft and you screw it up.

    I knew hiring this guy was a mistake.

    • cityofchampions

      The whole idea of the draft is to find players that can help eventually. Unless you are picking a generational talent in the top 2 you should not expect any pick to help now. Drafts are for restocking the cupboard and to help you 2-3 years down the road. The Oilers have not been doing thing right by rushing prospects and you want them to continue doing this when it has been proven over and over again during the last 10 years that it doesn’t work ?

      • CMG30

        Agreed. Picks need to develop before being introduced to the big show. That makes it doubly confusing why the Oilers would pass on numerous consensus better picks. But whatever. We’ll know if Holland is a Genius or goat by about 2021-22

    • cityofchampions

      The whole idea of the draft is to find players that can help eventually. Unless you are picking a generational talent in the top 2 you should not expect any pick to help now. Drafts are for restocking the cupboard and to help you 2-3 years down the road. The Oilers have not been doing thing right by rushing prospects and you want them to continue doing this when it has been proven over and over again during the last 10 years that it doesn’t work ?

    • Shameless Plugger

      Alex- Im curious who you thought they could have selected that would have helped next year? That seems to be your hang up, is that he didn’t take a player that would’ve help next year.

      So tell us who was on the board at 8 that was slotting into the top six next year ? I’m curious because I didn’t see any can’t miss ‘next year’ player outside of the top two in the draft.

    • All Ice

      You don’t fill immediate needs at the draft! C’mon! The Oil have been drafting that way for fifteen years! How’s that been working out?! Either troll better or think it through more

    • Joy S. Lee

      It’s pretty clear that with everything you know that it doesn’t amount to much in terms of running a professional hockey team. The #1 picks gave you a false sense of how it works, but the draft isn’t where you fill out next year’s roster… it represents the long game. Maybe you’ll grasp that after your 15th birthday.

  • Danger Pay

    The Oilers had absolutely zero scoring help outside McDavid, Draisaitl and Nuge last season and they select another L Dman who projects to be a top 3 dman. The Oilers finally have solid D prospects knocking on the door, Zegras, Boldy sitting right there and they pick a LD prospect who is 3 – 5 years away.

    • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

      When your highest scoring wingers are Chiasson and Kassian, that kinda sends the message doesn’t it. Ken should’ve taken a forward, but he didn’t.

      The Oilers needed a new pair of shoes, so they bought new laces.

      • cityofchampions

        oh stop your crying for goodness sakes. I’m on record too saying that I would have picked Zegras, Brody or the Russian (in that order) at #8 instead of Broberg, but I’ve never said Broberg was a bad pick..he’s big, fast and projects like Darnell Nurse which ain’t bad. I’m willing to wait and see how he turns out as the development of 18 year olds is a crapshoot at best. None of Zegras, Brody or the Russian would have played on the Oilers for the next two years anyway so none of them offered immediate help. The plan was always for Ken to get some scoring wingers via trade or free agency. Their second pick and third picks look like possible power wingers in 3-4 years so they are trying to shore up winger depth later in the draft.

        • Danger Pay

          We have plenty of LD prospects, I’m not allowed to want a 10 top scoring winger in the pool? I’m not allowed to question this team after going under .500 9 of the last 10 seasons with one playoff appearance since 2006?

          • Jeff Petry

            Absolutely you are. But some people on here are losing their minds because we didn’t draft a winger for next year without realizing any pick at #8 isn’t helping us for years. I’m fine with us loading up on D prospects and trading later for wingers. That’s the beauty of many prospects in 1 position. Trading from strength without creating a hole while filling an area of weakness

  • Heschultzhescores

    Broberg had 1 decent tournament in his career. His typical goal output is 2…he had 6 in one tourney and now he’s a stud D-man? Those are not numbers for a first pairing Dman. It’s not complaining when it’s an obvious error…just like JP, and Yak. Going for the hatty here it looks like.

    • Jeff Petry

      JP and Yak were not obvious errors when we drafted them. With the gift of hindsight we now know that. Again, these are just lottery tickets that you ope pan out