Even though the Edmonton Oilers have already signed top prospect Philip Broberg to a three-year entry-level contract, don’t expect him to be in training camp come September. The young defenseman has decided to play in Sweden for 2019-20 according to Adam Kimelman of NHL.com, who caught up with Broberg at the World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Michigan. Explaining why he made the decision, Broberg recognizes his current weaknesses and thinks he can address them best overseas playing for Skelleftea in the SHL:
It’s a great organization for developing. I know I’m not good enough to make the NHL team right now, that’s why I’m going to Skelleftea, to play against men every day, to practice against them, to play in probably the third-best league in the world, to get better and come back next year and make the [Oilers].
Selected eighth overall in last month’s draft, Broberg quickly signed his entry-level deal with the Oilers but was never expected to compete for a spot right away. The 18-year old could have gone to the OHL where his rights are owned by the Hamilton Bulldogs, but he’ll instead compete at an even higher level back home. His contract will not kick in for 2019-20 and could even potentially slide forward another year if he fails to make the team in 2020-21.
Not only will the smooth skating defenseman be able to play in the SHL, but it seems likely that we’ll get a chance to see him on the international stage for Sweden at the World Juniors. He competed there last season at the age of 17, but should be given a much greater role on the team this time around. Already standing 6’3″, Broberg is one of the best skating defensemen in the whole draft but still has holes in his decision making and defensive positioning. Those attributes are highly coveted in Swedish coaching, meaning he’ll hopefully be able to develop them while playing with a strong organization in Skelleftea.