Two young players have taken major steps forward for the Oilers during the playoffs

Edmonton Oilers Dylan Holloway
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
1 month ago
There have been two breakout players during the Edmonton Oilers’ postseason run. Both Philip Broberg and Dylan Holloway have become important players for the Oilers in recent months, and it affords the Oilers some options heading into the off-season.
With the forward and defencemen emerging as NHL regulars, it will allow the Oilers to make some off-season moves to move out some money to focus on re-signing Leon Draisaitl and Evan Bouchard, along with several unrestricted free agents like Adam Henrique, Mattias Janmark, and Connor Brown.
Let’s take a look at both Broberg and Holloway, both of whom will be restricted free agents on July 1.

Philip Broberg

In the 2010s, the Oilers had the 10th pick or higher in all but one draft, the 2017 draft, when they made the playoffs and later selected winger Kailer Yamamoto. The last draft of the 2010s saw them pick left-shot defenceman Philip Broberg from AIK in the Swedish Hockey League with the eighth overall pick in the 2019 draft.
Unlike Evan Bouchard, who was picked 10th overall the season prior, Broberg has yet to flourish to his full potential. In fact, he’s at times looked closer to being a bust than a top 4 defenceman, the bare minimum of a top 10 pick.
Coming to North America for the 2021-22 season, Broberg played 31 games in the American Hockey League where he scored four goals and 23 points. However, that scoring didn’t translate to the NHL, scoring his first career goal while picking up three assists in 23 games and playing in his first playoff game.
Broberg spent the majority of the 2022-23 roster on the Oilers, scoring a goal and picking up eight points in 46 games, but was mainly a seventh-defencemen. However, former Oiler head coach Jay Woodcroft often utilized seven defencemen in a game, allowing Broberg to play nine games in the postseason.
The left-shot defencemen started the 2023-24 season on the roster, playing in eight of Edmonton’s first nine games, going pointless with a -1 in 89:37 minutes of ice time, averaging 11:12 minutes a game. He was sent down on November 3, recalled on November 15 and played just two games where he was held pointless.
However, Broberg tore up the AHL in 2023-24, scoring a career-best five goals and 38 points, before earning an end-of-season call-up. In the two games, Broberg picked up an assist in each and was sent down again, this time to play in Bakersfield’s postseason run.
That postseason run was short-lived, and he joined the Oilers as a black ace, eventually earning a spot in the Oilers’ lineup. In just his second game, he scored his first postseason goal in an important Game 5 against Dallas. He followed that up with another goal in Game 3 of the Florida series.
He quickly became a top-four defenceman for the Oilers, playing alongside Darnell Nurse on his off-hand, which he has done quite a bit in his career. With the emergence of Broberg, it’s hard to deny him a roster spot on the 2024-25 Oilers and trading away another defencemen to clear cap room is likely to happen this off-season. 
Whether that be Cody Ceci, Brett Kulak, or Darnell Nurse if the Oilers really want to get creative is yet to be known, but Broberg absolutely deserves a shot as a mainstay next season.

Dylan Holloway

Although they made the postseason, well, sort of, the season before, the Oilers picked 14th in the 2020 draft. With that pick, they selected Calgary, Alberta-native and former Okotoks Oiler, Dylan Holloway. The young forward was coming off an eight-goal, 17-point performance in 35 games with the University of Wisconsin.
His second season with the Badgers went better, scoring 11 goals and 35 points in 23 games, going professional after just two seasons with Wisconsin. In his first season in the American Hockey League, Holloway scored eight goals and 22 points in 33 games, along with two goals and four points in five postseason games.
Holloway spent part of the 2022-23 season with the Oilers and the Bakersfield Condors. In the NHL, he played 51 games and scored three goals and nine points. The youngster had significantly better numbers in the AHL though, scoring seven goals and 10 points in 12 games.
In his first 14 games of the season, Holloway scored a goal the game prior to the game where he injured his knee but was essentially a non-factor. However, the return from a two-month layoff was nice, as he scored two goals and three points in his first 18 games before being sent down before the trade deadline.
Upon his return to the lineup at the start of April, Holloway played his way onto the Oilers roster, scoring three of his six goals this past season in just six games, along with two assists. The 22-year-old’s momentum also carried on through the postseason, scoring five goals and seven points in 23 games, highlighted by two different two-goal performances.
Not only has he become a scoring threat, but throughout the postseason, he’s played alongside Leon Draisaitl and Evander Kane on the second line. Holloway has also shown an ability to adapt, as his 74 hits are tied for the second most for any player in the postseason, tied with Vancouver’s Dakota Joshua and two behind Florida’s Sam Bennett.
Like Broberg, the emergence of Holloway as a useful top-six player has given the team an opportunity to trade players with a cap hit. Evander Kane immediately comes to mind as he’s had a solid postseason, but was largely ineffective throughout the regular season. At the very least, the Oilers can move on from Warren Foegele who will likely command a fairly sizable contract this off-season.
Either way, it’s nice to see two lottery picks emerge as important players in the Oilers’ Stanley Cup run. This off-season will be an interesting one, as decisions will need to be made regarding the team’s cap situation.

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