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Broberg plots course from Sweden to Oilers

Defenseman who was No. 8 pick in 2019 NHL Draft wants to follow path of idol Hedman

by Derek Van Diest / Correspondent

Philip Broberg is looking to become the next in a long line of talented NHL defensemen from Sweden.

The 18-year-old was selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the first round (No. 8) of the 2019 NHL Draft. He will return to Sweden to play with Skelleftea this upcoming season. 

"I think Sweden has a lot of good defensemen in the NHL and many young kids look up to them and they want to be like them," Broberg said in July. "Then they go and put in the hard work and hopefully one day, you can be an idol for the next young guys."

Broberg grew up idolizing Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman. At 6-foot-3, 198 pounds, Broberg attempts to model his game after him. 

Video: Broberg explains how he fits in with Oilers' future

"I like how he plays the game," Broberg said. "He's a big defenseman that can really skate and plays a two-way game as well. I'm a two-way defenseman that can skate the puck and pass it as well. I have a good shot and like to join the rush and score goals."

Broberg played with AIK in Sweden last season and had nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 41 games. He also played for Sweden in the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship and when it won the Under-18 World Championship. 

"I think Broberg came as advertised; he's an excellent skater and I was impressed with his puck polish too," Jay Woodcroft, coach of the Edmonton's American Hockey League affiliate in Bakersfield, said at Oilers development camp in June. "He did some nice things with the puck. He's got a large frame that you know is going to have some time to fill that out."

The Oilers are looking for Broberg to develop into a top-four defenseman and are willing to be patient with him. 

"I like that he's talented, I like that he's 6-foot-3, I like that he can skate and he can move the puck and he can transport the puck," Oilers general manager Ken Holland said at the 2019 draft in June. "I think if you're going to have a good team in the National Hockey League, you have to have a good defense. Those teams that go for long playoff runs, have good defense, deep defense, big defense. We're going to build a good, deep defense."

Broberg said he hopes playing another year professionally in Sweden will expedite his development. He had the option of coming to North America to play junior hockey but came to an agreement with Edmonton to stay in Sweden for at least another season. 

"That will help because I've played against men and practiced against men the whole year and I think it's a lot different playing against pros than it is juniors for sure," Broberg said. "I know I need to get stronger and get more physically mature. Hopefully I'm going to work on that in Skelleftea next year and be more prepared to get in to the NHL."

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