The first-round pick from the 2019 NHL Entry Draft will be brought in so that the Swede will become acquainted with Oilers business, management and player culture. Phase 1 begins on July 10.
Ken Holland, president and general manager of the Oilers, is noted for his patience in developing his draft picks. This was best noted from his illustrious days between 1997 to 2019, when he occupied the front office of the Detroit Red Wings. It worked for him there, as the team won three Stanley Cups during his tenure.
The 64-year-old Vernon, BC native appears to have brought his stoicism to the Alberta capital. After decades of drafting high and doing little with those picks, the Oilers needed to make a change. Holland is a re-injection of a winning attitude and composure.
It didn’t help that the Oilers quickly became a dynasty team after joining the league during the 1979-80 season. They were one of the all-time greatest NHL franchises by the mid-80s. The fans have long suffered, hoping each season would bring about the old magic. Dare we suggest that the magic has officially returned? Likewise, Holland appears to have landed in the right place at the right time.
Considered to have an outside chance of making the Oilers team this season and coupled with the fact that he is tied to his European Assignment Clause, Broberg will return to play next season in the Swedish Elite League to again suit up for Skellefteå AIK.
Broberg Has Bright Future
The 6-foot-3, left-shooting 18-year-old is considered a talented two-way defenseman who uses all 200 feet of the ice to orchestrate stunning rushes. He is of the latest-era of smooth-skating rearguards who isn’t afraid to make contact. However, the Oilers will have to work on his defensive play and late-play decision-making.
Broberg was drafted eighth overall on June 21, 2019. He subsequently signed an entry-level NHL contract. He is used to making teams, so not making the Oilers may just make him hungrier. He has made national teams since age 15 when he played for the Swedish U16 team, followed by playing in the U17, U18 and U20 World Junior Championships.
Regardless, the offensively-talented Oilers happen to carry a host of strong defenders. Therefore, Holland isn’t forced to play youth who are not fully ready for the big show.
It is likely that the focus for rookie defensemen with the Oilers will be centered on Evan Bouchard, who played with the farm team, the Bakersfield Condors, of the American Hockey League (AHL) last year. The 20-year-old Oakville, ON native came up through the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the London Knights. He was part of the 2016 Memorial Cup championship team. Like Broberg, Bouchard was also a first-round draft choice and was selected 10th overall.
There is an outside chance that Russian defender Dmitri Samorukov will make the Oilers lineup, however, that is highly unlikely. The Oilers boast a strong contingent on the backend that will likely be made up by a complement that carries a mix of speed and brawn with the likes of Ethan Bear, Darnell Nurse, Oscar Klefbom, Caleb Jones, Adam Larsson, William Lagesson, Kris Russell, Mike Green and Matt Benning.
Broberg will have his day and Holland will give him every chance to demonstrate his ability to play in the NHL—he will likely have a long NHL career in front of him. It’s just unlikely to begin when the NHL resumes play later this summer.