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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.

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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:


  • 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!

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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 .

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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