Though he has played in 15 games this season, Markus Niemelainen does not have the trust of the Edmonton Oilers coaching staff. The 24-year-old defenseman has logged more than ten minutes of ice time in just four of those games, and less than nine in each of his last five. Today, after two straight losses, the Oilers have made a change.
Broberg, 21, was the eighth overall pick in 2019 and played 23 games with the Oilers last season, registering three points at the highest level. The rest of his North American professional career has been with Bakersfield, where he has 27 points in 38 games.
A brilliant skater, the left-shot defenseman hasn’t quite been able to show that he’s ready for the next step. His movement with the puck is excellent, but his consistency and defensive game still need work. Perhaps that development can come at the NHL level, though if he inherits Niemelainen’s role, he won’t be seeing the ice much.
The chance here for Broberg is that several other veteran defensemen have also been struggling for the Oilers. If he can show he’s ready for full-time NHL minutes, the opportunity is there for him. We’ll see how they deploy the group tomorrow when the Oilers finish up an eastern road trip against the New York Rangers.