Edmonton Oilers Player Review and 2023-24 Preview: Philip Broberg
Photo credit:© Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis9 days ago
Welcome to the 2022-23 Edmonton Oilers player review and 2023-24 season preview.
In this series, we’ll be doing a player-by-player look at the season that each Oiler had last year and their outlook heading into next year. Today, we have Philip Broberg.
By the end of his entry-level contract, Evan Bouchard had emerged as the top-four defenceman the Oilers hoped he would become when they selected him with their first pick in the 2018 draft. Will the same be true for Philip Broberg?
The eighth overall pick from the 2019 draft and the first selection made by the Oilers during the Ken Holland era is entering his third season playing in North America. In 2021-22, he scored 23 points in 31 games with the Bakersfield Condors and played 23 games across two different stints with the Oilers. In 2022-23, Broberg started off the season with an injury, played seven games in the AHL to get up to speed, and then came up to spend the rest of the season with the big league club.
Over 46 games with the Oilers last season, Broberg scored one goal and eight points with an on-ice goal differential of 29-to-26 while at even strength. He logged an average of 12:36 per game, often against weaker competition, and saw some time on the penalty kill. Broberg also appeared in nine of Edmonton’s playoff games in the spring.
The paths and development time of Bouchard and Broberg will naturally be different because the former has to adjust to the smaller North American ice surface, but it’s reasonable to expect the young Swede to establish himself as a full-time NHLer in 2023-24.
For the sake of comparison, we can look at Oscar Klefbom, who the Oilers selected with the 19th overall pick in the 2011 draft. Klefbom spent two post-draft seasons playing in Sweden and lost most of the second one to injury. He spent most of his first season in North America in the AHL and played 17 games across his NHL debut. His second season started in the AHL but Klefbom was called up after nine games and established himself on Edmonton’s blueline.
The contexts are very different, as the non-competitive Oilers of the 2010s had much more room to give a young defender playing time, but the Klefbom comparison illustrates that it’s time to give Broberg a true run to show what he can do.
Philip Broberg’s career to date…
Barring an injury during training camp, the Oilers will be going into the 2023-24 season with the same seven defencemen who suited up for the team down the stretch and into the playoffs in the spring.
The strength of Edmonton’s blueline is on the left side, with Darnell Nurse, Mattias Eklhom, and Brett Kulak filling the top three spots. Though he’s left-handed, Broberg’s best path to a full-time gig is probably on the right side of Edmonton’s blueline, which features Evan Bouchard, Cody Ceci, and Vincent Desharnais.
Last year, Broberg’s most common partner was Bouchard, as the two young defenders played third-pairing competition while Nurse, Ceci, Kulak, and Tyson Barrie filled the top four. That changed when Barrie was moved out and Ekholm came in, as Bouchard got paired with the veteran and Broberg and Desharnais rotated playing alongside Kulak.
If the Oilers want to give Broberg a bigger role this season, the best spot for him would likely be alongside Ekholm. Bouchard could be the puck-mover next to Nurse on the top-pairing while Kulak and Ceci could be given defensive zone minutes.
How Broberg performs will ultimately play a role in what Ken Holland does during the season. If Broberg plays well enough to pass Kulak or Ceci on the depth chart, one of those defenders could moved to open up the salary cap flexibility to make an addition elsewhere. If Broberg isn’t able to hack it, he might be the one who gets moved out for another defenceman.
Previously in this series…
- Edmonton Oilers Player Review and 2023-24 Preview: Tyson Barrie
- Edmonton Oilers Player Review and 2023-24 Preview: Tyler Benson
- Edmonton Oilers Player Review and 2023-24 Preview: Nick Bjugstad
- Edmonton Oilers Player Review and 2023-24 Preview: Ryan Murray
- Edmonton Oilers Player Review and 2023-24 Preview: Jesse Puljujarvi
- Edmonton Oilers Player Review and 2023-24 Preview: Devin Shore
- Edmonton Oilers Player Review and 2023-24 Preview: Kailer Yamamoto
- Edmonton Oilers Player Review and 2023-24 Preview: Evan Bouchard
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