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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:


  • Arfguy

    No one really knows squat about drafting. Even those that scout are basically guessing, even for what seems like sure things.

    What I am saying is: Broberg might never play an NHL game, but to think that the draft scouts who ranked him at #9 or lower know something that the rest of the Oilers do not is flawed logic. Zach Bogosian and Luke Schenn went higher than Erik Karlsson. Even though Alex Pietrangelo is a Stanley Cup winning defenceman now, it is very obvious that Karlsson is the better defenceman.

    There were people on this board who were adamant that the Oilers needed Oliver Wahlstrom. The Oilers chose Bouchard. Once again, Bouchard could be a complete bust, but it seems that he may be a lot closer to the NHL than Wahlstrom.

    No one is a draft expert. You can make an educated guess, but there is no surefire way to make draft picks.

  • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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 ?

    • 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

    • 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

    • 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.

  • Kevwan

    I won’t complain about the pick. We’ve complained in this market about accountability from management so let Holland make his own decisions.

    I’ve mentioned this before but it was embarrassing that EVERYONE knew the Oilers wanted Broberg. Outside of the top 2 picks no pick was as telegraphed as #8. The other teams keep stealthy about their picks for a reason – there is zero benefit for the Oilers to let this info out.

    I hope someone in the media calls out Holland on this – the leaks need to stop.

  • Bigdaddypuck

    I think there will be skilled wingers in most drafts how long has the defense blown In Edmonton since Pronger left ?
    How long has having a deep defense been important to dominate teams? I think the fact he can fly is great and we have a GM that won’t let him play until he is ready that’s a huge positive. So many negative people in this town and by the title of this article they arnt all fans are they? The oilers havnt had a deep pool of defensemen since Beakaboom was called up! I think this is an intelligent pick that maybe allows asssets to moved for what we new if and when this team is ready to compete. Having to many decent defensemen has never been a problem with most organizations.

  • 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

  • Karl Canada

    There’s a lot of complaining about this pick. Has anyone even considered that perhaps Holland’s ‘ole buddy Lindstrom thinks this kid is going to be great and that is the entire reason the oilers are high on Broberg? If this is indeed the case, I would take advice of of someone like Lindstrom over some codger has been or never was scout. Let history play out. It can’t ever be worse than yakapov

  • slats-west

    The good, bad and ugly may have been a premonition for the comments on the ON Boards.

    A few thoughts:
    – Holland’s plan seems to have been clear get the best Dman possible and not the best player available (the latter we’ve attempted over and over and has been fairly unsuccessful)
    – the kid looks good and has all the pedigree to be a good, no guarantees
    – at trade deadlines getting a really good player usually involves dman going the other way Why? Simply because good dman are in short supply

    Do I like the pick? Yes – love it?No.

    I like Hollands strategy though.

  • OILERSORDEATH

    To all the whiners just STFU, I’m excited for the season to start. With a healthy defense and 1 or 2 forwards Holland will be bringing in I’m positive we will make the Playoffs. Leon is a beast and McDavid will only keep getting better. And Nuge will pump in 65-70 book it! Go Oilers!!!!

    • GK1980

      Wish I was as excited as you. I used to get pretty jacked for the upcoming season but it’s been fading over the course of many years. Just not as fun as it used to be.

  • RJ

    Love it when you write a post, come back and the post is gone; long story short, not going to know for a while whether Zegras was the smarter choice or not. But Broberg’s hockey IQ was questioned in different players, and if we are being honest, that was the same problem that Yak and JP had.

    Maybe the Bro turns out; but it will be 3-5 years. Zegras will be in the NHL in a year or two.

  • Vanoil

    This was a classic Holland move — preparing the team for five years from now, likely when they expect to move on from Klefbom (at 30 yrs old), when this kid will be 23 and ready to enter the Oilers system in the NHL as a 3LD. That means Holland is focussed on five years from now, not today. Whether or not McDavid is still here at that time is a concern though. Holland has done nothing to build a team around him. Seeing The Leafs trade Marleau to sign Johnsen and Kapinen, means there will likely be nothing other than left-over over-agers to fill the roster with next year. Not the most promising game plan for the OIL who will be wasting McDavid’s prime. Not sure this was the year to plan for five years from now …. But Holland never saw a fix in the draft for next year’s team, that is our new GM like it or not, he simply doesn’t use the draft to build his current roster, its solely a tool for the long-term future. Problem is now we have McD and no support to draw from, from within the organization. This is going to be a long summer.

    • The Whispererer

      The Leafs have ~ $13.5 million in Cap space. The rumoured contracts for Kapanen and Johnsson would take ~ $6.5 of that, leaving ~ $7 million for Marner plus a 13th forward, and to fix the defense where they only have 5 players ( Including Zaitzev ) on the roster for next year. They are still in Cap hell.

    • Bigdaddypuck

      What about Benson and Yakamoto? So if we didn’t draft a winger this year McDavid leaves in five years? Why is his contract up? A secondly how many year did it take Ovie to win? Sakic? Yzerman?

      • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

        Yes but those organizations made consistent playoff appearances. Sure they got bounced early again and again (especially Washington), but they made the playoffs. The Oilers seem to be on a “make the playoffs every 10 years” thing now.

  • Wesley41

    Holy Crap! The world has ended and all is lost geez,relax who at #8 was a guaranteed top 2 line winger this upcoming season?We need to restructure the team through smart trades and signings.Not relying on a kid at #8 as our bargain savour from this draft!

  • madjam

    On the excitement level this years draft crop rates maybe a 5 out of ten . Not much to get excited about this year . Now we’ll see if Holland can make some astute deals to help club this season coming up .

  • 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

  • Well when I turned the channel the US development team had 13 players drafted. A team that didn’t win the junior’s or the Hlinka/ Gretzky tourney. When not playing tournaments they play against college teams and some weak ones at that. I heard someone on telecast say they were dominant team. I know this post is going to sound anti American but it’s not. I am just confused, how can you hold stats when you are beating Green Bay 11-1 in a game that has no value to a league.

    I haven’t checked but I don’t remember a Swiss player taken. This country produces players that have compete . Always give a run and seem to be getting better every year.

    • Arfguy

      For all intents and purposes, Jack Hughes should be a very special player. Other than that, I am not sold on any of the other players. I am glad the Oilers avoided Zegras, Turcotte and Caulfield. One of them may definitely pan out, but are no more of a certainty than any other players drafted from other leagues.

        • cityofchampions

          Caulfied was the right choice for the Habs at #15…I wouldn’t have taken him at #8 but I would have taken a chance on him at #15, but he is a high risk-high reward pick. I think Vegas got an even better steal at #17 with Krebs though.

          • GK1980

            Well maybe he was, other teams passed on him for a reason and most teams aren’t stupid. It’s hardly a “steal”. Only time tell but of course we all wish all prospects the best.

  • T Shuttz

    I think most of the frustration in this pick is that its projected for the future and we need help upfront right now. Broberg will be good in three years, no dought. I have no reason not to believe Holland has something up his sleeve. Stay tuned.. As the Oilers world turns…

  • Copenhagen

    So whats next? Trade our D prospects for average forwards, why not just draft an excellent forward like Boldy or Caufield to start with, when that is the need. We now have 27 D in our organization!

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Man the Filter rules here are horrid, I dont know what keywords they are using but what a pain when you cant eve post a relevant comment because of some keyword they have in their filtering rules

    • mcjesus take the wheel

      Oh Jesus this is a bad take. He’s hardly picked and Russians the last 10 years and they certainly have not amounted to anything. But since he got lucky on Dats and Zeds in late rounds 20 years ago somehow makes him a genius? Tell me about all the great guys he drafted those years ahead of Dats and Zeds? Hint- he drafted a bunch of nobodies those same drafts ahead of them. Genius.

  • OILERSORDEATH

    Thanks Dustin, that’s a good read and makes me feel a little better about the pick. I was a little upset but I’ve calmed down a bit and now think we could have a player here.

  • camdog

    After taking the time to reflect – “Plays the game with blinders” translates to a d-man that might be really good after he plays his 300 pro games, just like Nurse. In 6 years he might be a really good d-man. Timeline sounds more Detroit than Edmonton. If the Oilers are on a 6 year build good pick, if they are looking at 2-3 years good bet the player is traded before he gets the opportunity here.

    • CMG30

      One hopes not. Ken’s claim to fame around these parts is slow playing prospects. The assumption that a teenager having sucess in junior leagues is somehow going to help out in the NHL has been thoughly tested and debunked by the Oilers.