On Sunday (May 2), the Edmonton Oilers reassigned top prospect Philip Broberg to their taxi squad. A 19-year-old defenceman from Sweden, Broberg recently wrapped up his second season with Skellefteå AIK in the Swedish Hockey League, where he had 13 points in 44 games.
Broberg was the Oilers’ top selection In the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, taken eighth overall in the first round. He was Edmonton’s highest-drafted defenceman since they picked Hall-of-Famer Paul Coffey sixth overall in 1980. There is a chance Broberg makes his NHL debut with the Oilers this season. Edmonton has six games remaining on their schedule, beginning Tuesday when they take on the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena.
He stands 6-foot-3, weighs over 200 pounds, and shoots left-handed. Here are four more things to know about Broberg:
He Started as a Forward
Given his offensive capabilities, it comes as no surprise to learn that Broberg first played forward and only gave defense a try when attending a camp that had too many wingers and centres. An instructor working with bantam-aged players observed that Broberg had the size and skill to play on the back end and recommended to Broberg’s parents that the youngster switch positions.
That instructor was Randy Edmonds, a Canadian who played, scouted, coached, and managed in Sweden for 30 years and would go on to represent Broberg for DHG Sports Agency.
Gold at Age 17
In April 2019, Just two months before the Oilers drafted him, Broberg led his nation to gold on home soil at the IIHF World U18 Championship, which was held in Sweden. The host team defeated Russia 4-3 in overtime of the championship game, thrilling the local fans at Fjällräven Center in Örnsköldsvik.
Broberg, who had two goals and four assists in seven games, was named the Championship’s Best Defenceman and selected to the All-Star Team. He also won a bronze meal with Sweden’s U20 national team at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship in the Czech Republic.
He Is Very Familiar With Edmonton
Though he didn’t dress for any games in Edmonton’s 3-1 series loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, Broberg was included on the team’s Stanley Cup Qualifiers roster last summer. And while that was his first chance to spend time with his new Oilers teammates, it was hardly his only experience in Edmonton.
Broberg first spent time in the Alberta capital in August 2018 when he helped Team Sweden capture silver at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup at Rogers Place. He was also back at the Oilers’ home arena just a few months ago, captaining Sweden at the 2021 World Juniors. Additionally, Broberg came to Edmonton for the Oilers’ development and rookie camps in 2019.
He Has Superstar Role Models
When describing his playing style, Broberg cites a fellow Swede with speed and size, Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Arguably the best blueliner on the planet today, Hedman received the Conn Smythe Trophy as NHL playoff MVP after leading his team to the Stanley Cup championship last year. This season, Hedman is currently the second-leading point scorer among defencemen and is a serious contender to be awarded the James Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenceman for a second time in his career following 2018.
But while Hedman is his hero, Broberg has worn No. 5 in honour of another Swede: Hockey Hall-of-Famer Nick Lidstrom, a seven-time Norris Trophy winner and four-time Stanley Cup champion who played for the Detroit Red Wings from 1991-92 to 2011-12.
“(Lidstrom) is a legend. The perfect human,” Broberg said after being drafted in 2019. “He had 20 good years and in my mind was the best defenceman ever.”
Oilers’ general manager Ken Holland was a Red Wings scout when Detroit drafted Lidstrom in 1989. Holland served as Detroit’s general manager from 1997 to 2019 and was with the franchise for the entirety of Lidstrom’s NHL career.
Related: Ken Holland’s Red Wings Legacy
There is no question that Broberg is a big part of the Oilers’ future, expected to bring leadership and a two-way game to the NHL. The only question now is when he’ll first play for the Oilers in an NHL game.
Brian is an Edmonton-based sports writer and broadcaster. His experience includes working as a sports reporter for the Edmonton Sun, where he covered the Edmonton Oil Kings 2013-14 Memorial Cup championship season.