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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Checking in on Oilers defensive prospect Philip Broberg

With another NHL Entry Draft fast approaching, I thought it would be a good idea to check in on Philip Broberg, last year’s 8th overall selection, to see how he’s progressed in his first post-draft season. Thankfully, Uffe Bodin from Hockey Sverige has watched him play over the last year and was ready to offer a quick update on how he’s looking and what’s yet to come.

Baggedmilk: For some Oilers fans, this was a controversial selection at eighth overall so I’m curious how Broberg has progressed in his first post-draft year?

Uffe Bodin: It was a big step for him to step into the SHL at 18 after playing one level below that the previous season. There have been some growing pains for sure, but the positive thing is that he’s with an organization in Skelleftea that is really good at developing young players. He played a lot with Filip Berglund, another player signed by the Oilers, and while they didn’t get a whole lot of ice-time, mostly playing on the third pairing, they both showed signs of making progress.

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BM: That’s not an unusual course of events in the SHL, correct?

UB: Broberg didn’t stick out – defensemen of his age rarely do in this league – but he had some good moments of promise. It was a “watch and learn season” for him.

BM: This past season, Broberg averaged about 14 minutes per game, right?

UB: Yeah, playing on a third pairing with limited ice-time on special teams will obviously do that for you. Skelleftea had a mixture of skill and experience on their blue line. It would have been hard for him to move up in the hierarchy.

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BM: What do you see as his clear strengths and weaknesses? 

UB: His skating is by far his greatest asset as a hockey player. He is fast enough to join the rush and get back in time defensively if there’s a turnover. Physically he’s getting better and better too. A weakness would be his on-ice awareness at this point.

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BM: How did that lack of awareness affect his game?

UB: Playing against men in one of the better leagues in Europe requires you to be responsible with the puck and keep track of opposing players in the d-zone. One small mistake often leads to a dangerous chance for the opposing team or the puck simply winds up in your own net.

BM: You said that it was a “watch and learn” type of season for him, so what does he have to work on to progress to the next level?

UB: For Broberg, it’s all about getting more comfortable with the puck, make good decisions and becoming more aware of his surroundings. As he gets more ice-time and more responsibility, that should improve.

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BM: What would you like to see from Broberg from this season to cement himself as a legitimate blue-chip prospect?

UB: You’d like for him to take a step in the right direction offensively. I view him as more of a two-way defenseman than someone who’ll run your power play, but I still feel like there’s a lot of room for improvement offensively compared to what he showed last season. Other than that, it’s just about maturing as a player, becoming more responsible and aware. Hopefully, that will sort itself out when he proves that he’s worthy of a bigger role on the team.

BM: Overall, do you think the Oilers made the right decision to leave Broberg in Sweden for at least another season?

UB: Absolutely, he’s not ready to play in the NHL and I feel that, for now, he’s better off staying in Sweden, getting an increased role with Skelleftea and, also, getting another crack at the World Juniors with Sweden. I think that all of this will benefit his long-term development and get him closer to being a player ready to compete for a spot in the NHL.

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THE WRAP…

Jun 21, 2019; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Philip Broberg puts on a jersey after being selected as the number eight overall pick to the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

From the moment his name was called at 8th overall, Broberg was always going to be a longer-term project, meaning that rushing him into the NHL was simply never going to be an option. This is a guy that has plenty of of the physical, Gord-given tools and now we’ll have to wait and see if he can put them all together and live up to his potential. And while I know that Broberg’s offensive numbers aren’t overly impressive at this point, it’s important to remember that Oscar Klefbom had only two goals in 33 games with Farjestad BK in his post-draft season. Hopefully, the next season will provide Broberg with more opportunity in all situations so that we’re able to see where his ceiling is truly at and what kind of player to expect on the Oilers’ blue line in a few years. Either way, this is a prospect that we’ll certainly be keeping our eyes on as he moves up Skelleftea’s depth chart and continues to work on his craft.

BROBERG’S CAREER SO FAR

SEASON TEAM LEAGUE GP G A TP PIM +/- PGP G A TP PIM +/-
2017-18 Örebro HK J18 J18 Elit 7 1 2 3 2
Örebro HK J20 “A” SuperElit 15 2 2 -1
AIK J18 J18 Elit 3 2 2 2 4
AIK J20 SuperElit 23 6 7 13 6 5 2 1 2 3 6
Sweden U17 WHC-17 5 4
Sweden U17 (all) International-Jr 17 3 3 8 -4
2018-19 AIK J18 J18 Allsvenskan 1 -1
AIK J20 SuperElit 8 2 6 8 8 3 3 1 1 3
AIK Allsvenskan 41 2 7 9 14 -1 3 -1
Sweden U18 WJC-18 7 2 4 6 6 2
Sweden U18 (all) International-Jr 17 6 8 14 16 4
Sweden U20 WJC-20 4 1 1 2
Sweden U20 (all) International-Jr 6 2 2 2
2019-20 Skellefteå AIK  SHL 45 1 7 8 6
Sweden U20 WJC-20 7 1 1 4 -3
Sweden U20 (all) International-Jr 16 3 2 5 6