Today’s Prospects News & Rumors column is all about defense. A former top-ten draft pick is turning heads and making his case to get a look during the Stanley Cup playoffs. Another defensive prospect has signed on with another National Hockey League club, who is hoping a change of scenery helps him take the next stop.
Broberg Impressing in Camp
Edmonton Oilers fans have been excited about defenseman Evan Bouchard ever since he was drafted with the 10th overall pick at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Bouchard had a nice rookie season with the Bakersfield Condors in the American Hockey League (AHL), but he may have been passed up on the organizational depth card.
Philip Broberg, drafted ninth overall in 2019, was invited to the Oilers’ playoff training camp and he has been very impressive. The 19-year-old came over from Sweden with the idea of getting a couple of weeks of workouts with the NHL club under his belt. However, he is making his case to earn a roster spot for the Qualifying Round series versus the Chicago Blackhawks.
He has shown off his skills with and without the puck. He’s been skating around defenders and scoring goals while playing well in his own zone during intra-squad scrimmages.
“He looks to me like a player right now that you can put on left D, right D, right wing, left wing, center,” head coach Dave Tippett recently said. “He’s a young player that’s trying to come in and make an impression, and he’s certainly doing that.”
He has impressed his coaching staff and many of the veteran players in the Edmonton locker room. With Mike Green opting out of the postseason, there is a better chance for Broberg to find his way into a game this summer. He just might have played his final game in Sweden.
Day Signs with Lightning
Over the weekend, the Tampa Bay Lightning signed defenseman Sean Day to a one-year, two-way contract. The 22-year-old defender split the 2019-20 season between the American Hockey League (AHL) and ECHL. He had a goal, four assists and a minus-one rating in 16 AHL games with the Hartford Wolfpack. In 36 ECHL contests with the Maine Mariners, Day scored five goals and 20 points to go along with a plus-12 rating.
Day was originally drafted by the New York Rangers in the third road (81st overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. He spent five seasons in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the Mississauga Steelheads, Windsor Spitfires, and Kingston Frontenacs before turning pro. The Rangers terminated the final year of his entry-level contract, back in May, with one year remaining on it.
This move gives the Lightning some depth on the AHL blue line with a player who still has some NHL protentional. He has the frame to play at the highest level at 6-foot-2 and 227 pounds. He is a mobile two-way defenseman who just hasn’t put it all together yet for long stretches. Tampa Bay is hoping a change in scenery can put the wheels in motion.
Prospect of the Day – Braden Schneider
We are going to stay on defense with our Prospect of the Day. Schneider is coming off a very successful season with the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Western Hockey League (WHL). He set a career-high with 35 assists and 42 points in 60 games.
Related – THW 2020 Draft Guide
Schneider is the fourth-ranked North American defenseman by NHL Central Scouting and the eighth-highest skater overall. He has the toolset that has NHL scouts excited about his potential. He’s got good size and mobility, makes crisp outlet passes and can contribute offensively. The stronger aspect of his game is his play in his own zone. He has the ability to be a shutdown defender with elite positioning and great smarts.
Our own Jeb Biggart feels that he will be a first-round pick, likely going in the second half of the opening round.
Defensemen of Schneider’s caliber are often a tough projection. While he brings enough offense to the table to warrant a high-end selection, it’s not quite enough to make him a top-fifteen pick. He’d seem like a good fit for the Carolina Hurricanes with their 19th-overall selection. The Hurricanes haven’t selected a defenseman in the first round since Jake Bean in 2016, and have drafted just seven defensemen since then. Unless a team is truly enamored by Schneider’s play, expect him to fall between the 18th and 25th picks for this year’s draft.
Today’s NHL defenseman is also expected to contribute on the offensive end. While Schneider is no slouch with the puck, he will have to improve in this aspect if he wants earn power play time at the professional level. He has the potential to be a shutdown defenseman who plays big minutes. Adding more offense to his game will be his fast track to the NHL.