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DRAFT: Holland building the back end with Broberg

"Those teams that go for long playoff runs have good defence, deep defence, big defence. We're going to build a good, big and deep defence," said Ken Holland

by Paul Gazzola /

VANCOUVER, BC - Brick by brick. 

Blueliner by blueliner.

Like Rome, National Hockey League defence cores cannot be built in one day and Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Ken Holland knows it, selecting AIK (SWE-II) defenceman Philip Broberg eighth-overall at the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver.

Video: THE PANEL | Round 1 Recap

Holland affirmed his decision to choose the smooth-skating puck-mover born in Orebro, SWE, later adding his reason for adding a piece to a pipeline that's still under some construction.

"I think if you're going to have a good team in the National Hockey League, you have to have a good defence," Holland said following Round 1 of the Draft. 

"Those teams that go for long playoff runs have good defence, deep defence, big defence. We're going to build a good, big and deep defence."

The former Red Wings General Manager pointed out past defence groups that patrolled the ice in Detroit, which featured stalwarts like Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski.

"I think back to our team in '08 when we won the Cup," he said. "We had Lidstrom, Rafalski. We had Kronwall. We had Brad Stuart. We had a really top-notch top four.

"Certainly, the other three guys were all mobile. They could skate, they could handle the puck, they could get back and pivot, turn the net then get the puck snapped up to our forwards' hands. 

"That's part of the thinking in this selection."

Video: DRAFT | Ken Holland Round 1 Recap

After disclosing why he's trying to build the back end, Holland built up Broberg. The Swede skated against men in Allsvenskan and will turn 18 on June 25. 

"I'm certainly aware that we need forwards but I also know that you got to have a good defence. It's got to be talented and I think that's really important in the League today. 

"Broberg can skate, transport, pass the puck, get back, move the puck."

Broberg, who shook Wayne Gretzky's hand and was ecstatic when he received a text from Oilers Captain Connor McDavid, will add to a structure that includes compatriots Oscar Klefbom and Adam Larsson.

"We have good defencemen in the National Hockey League," Broberg said of Swedish defenders. 

"You look up to them and try to be like them. I think that's the biggest reason why Sweden has developed so many defecemen throughout the years."

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