The Edmonton Oilers have changed course after seeing one of their top prospects compete at training camp. GM Ken Holland told reporters today including Mark Spector of Sportsnet that the team will be taking Philip Broberg into the Phase 4 bubble with them instead of returning him to his Swedish club. The initial plan was for Broberg to only participate in Phase 3, before joining Skelleftea in the SHL for their own training camp.
Part of the reason for the switch is the fact that Mike Green opted out of the tournament, but it also has to do with how well Broberg has performed over the last few weeks. The 19-year old defenseman was selected eighth overall in 2019 and has an enticing mix of speed and size. Just coming to the bubble however does not mean he’ll get to play, as the Oilers will be taking ten defensemen.
The question now becomes whether Broberg has fought his way into the mix for a roster spot in 2020-21. The Oilers signed the young defenseman to his entry-level contract a year ago, meaning even if the team is eliminated quickly in these playoffs they could loan him to the SHL until training camps open for the 2020-21 NHL season. Getting him playing time right now is obviously important, but the Oilers also have a Stanley Cup on their mind right now and need to take the best players available to them.
Importantly, Broberg is one of the players who could see the first year of his entry-level deal burned if he plays ten games in this postseason. If he plays in fewer than that, his contract would slide forward a year (and not even necessarily kick in for 2020-21).