Oilers draft pick Philip Broberg has gone a long way in soothing Edmonton fans who wondered why Oilers GM Ken Holland took him over a number of top-attacking forwards with the 8th overall pick in the 2019 draft.
At the World Junior Showcase summer tournament, Broberg excelled, prompting rave reviews, including a comparison from TSN expert analyst Craig Button of Broberg to NHL stars Victor Hedman and Hampus Lindholm. “Hedman is one of the best defensemen in the NHL. If Phillip can scratch that area, you’re in special territory. He can skate like Hedman. A nice mix of Lindholm & Hedman is my projection,” Button said on Twitter.
Asked about an alleged lack of hockey IQ, Button had this to say: “I have heard those comments and as I continuously watch him, I don’t see a lack of hockey sense at all.”
Button added late in the broadcast of the Finland-Sweden game in the tournament that TSN should put together a highlight package of Broberg’s plays when Ken Holland is being interviewed. “We should just put up all of Broberg’s outstanding plays during the week — and there was lots of them. You’re going to have to condense them down. And then just ask Kenny to talk about it and at the same time have a camera on him so we could see the smile from ear to ear on his face. Kenny hasn’t told me anything, but I know he is thrilled to have Philip Broberg in the Edmonton Oilers’ organization, just thrilled. And anybody watching him here, Oilers fans, you should be just as thrilled.”
At another point, Buttons said: “For the Edmonton Oilers, just another young player that I feel will be an elite defenceman in the NHL.”
Button was not alone in praising Broberg.
The Cult’s Bruce McCurdy took to Twitter to report: “Lots to like about Philip Broberg’s game today, consistently driving play north, ‘defending from the tops of the circles out’ as Craig Button astutely remarked. I really liked his decision making with the puck, low panic point…Didn’t try to do it all on his own even as he pushed the play. At least three times I saw Broberg take the puck all the way behind the icing line,then stop up, hold, and find the right teammate, one in dangerous position, the other two on perimeter but open. No forced passes thru traffic, just a steady diet of get the puck and move it, either carrying it into open ice or deftly passing it to a teammate. Made the aggressive play when it was there, but made the conservative play when it wasn’t. Either way, Broberg made a lot of plays…. Broberg’s rough edges include d-zone positioning without the puck. When on the weak side he needs to work on collapsing to the net front in time to lift or at least engage the attacker’s stick. Got burned for a goal against vs Canada on just such a play and a dangerous chance today… One last on Broberg, he played right defence in this game & looked very comfortable in doing so. File that under V for “versatile” (or “value-added”). Not saying he’s apt to wind up there, but every team needs a guy or two, esp. lefties, who can make the switch as needed.”
And The Cult’s Kurt Leavins had this to say: “So if there were any doubters..this Broberg kid? He can play.”
- Oilers fans will recall that two years ago Kailer Yamamoto also put on a huge show of talent at this tournament. Yamamoto has had his struggles since then, including some injury woes. The good news with Broberg is that unlike Yamamoto, he won’t be rushed to the NHL. Broberg will play in Sweden this year, so there’s no fear of him being thrust into NHL action by an impatient Oilers front office and coaching staff. He’ll have at least one more year to develop his game in Sweden before coming to North America. I suspect he’ll also get at least one year in the AHL before he’s a serious candidate to make the Oilers. There are a number of players ahead of Broberg on the Oil’s left side depth chart right now, including Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse, Kris Russell, Caleb Jones, William Lagesson and Dmitri Samorukov.
- Button is no shill for the Oilers, we can say with certainty. He calls them as he sees them. Indeed, Button got a fair amount of abuse from Oilers fans when he did not have Oilers prospect Evan Bouchard on his list of 50 top NHL affiliated prospects this past winter. At that time, I posed the question to Button on Twitter about why Bouchard was left off the list and, as is his habit, Button gave a forthright answer: “Not close to NHL ready. Not then or he’d still be there and not now. Very good prospect but has to improve the pace & tempo of his play. That’s developmental but it is essential for success at NHL Level. This is my view of 50 Best NHL affiliated prospects at this time.”
- Bouchard came on and put on a strong show of attacking at the AHL level in the playoffs, but it’s evident Bouchard has work to do on his defensive game before he’s NHL-ready. He needs a year in the AHL to work on his gap control and puck battling technique. But, again, the good news is Bouchard will get that time, as the Oilers have enough players ahead of him at the NHL level that they don’t have to rush him.
- What did I think of Broberg at this tournament? I have to admit I was astonished at his skating ability. The young man can flat out fly on the attack. He’s also got a strong transition from forwards-to-backwards when defending. His shot is nothing to get excited about but he consistently fired hard and accurate tape-to-tape passes and made the right plays under pressure with the puck. A few times he also showed a hard edge on defence, bodying other players off the puck. Essentially, I saw what Holland and his Oilers scouts must have seen in drafting this player. It’s still early in Broberg’s career but there’s plenty to love about his game. I can see why the Oil spent such a high draft pick on him. Edmonton has been starving for a puck-moving d-man who can really move with the puck and make great plays. Broberg could well be that player.
At the Cult
- Pandemic thriller Utopia on Amazon might be the perfect viewing
- 2021 Jaguar F-Pace refreshed with new styling, luxury and tech
- 2020 Halloween full moon: This year’s spooky spectacle brings a rare twist
- The best minimalist wallet for 2020
- NASA chief calls for prioritizing Venus after surprise find hints at alien life
- YouTube is adding a new Shorts feature to rival TikTok and Instagram Reels
- Paul Rudd, world’s youngest 51-year-old, tells fellow kids to mask up
- Jonathan Majors to join MCU as villain Kang the Conquerer, report says
- TikTok ban won’t prevent employees from being paid, US says in filing