Philip Broberg comes with what every Swedish defender seems to possess: great skating. And Broberg’s skating really is great. Added to that key element is an impressive frame that stands 6’3” with a mass a bit over 200 pounds.
He is a defender built for the transition game. His skating means he can bring up the puck at speed and put defenders to shame before delivering a pass to a forward in a good position.
Broberg transfered to AIK in HockeyAllsvenskan (the Swedish second tier) after impressing in the Junior ranks, and played an impressive 41 games in a professional league.
While he was a standout among his peers, what had been hidden in Junior was exposed when playing against the professionals. His lack of solid positioning could be covered by his skating last year, but against some of the better players in Sweden it was one flaw that at times stood out.
Birthplace: Örebro, Sweden
Weight: 203 lbs.
Team: AIK (HockeyAllsvenskan)
The good thing is that he’s always aware of his surroundings and tends to read the game well, which should lead to a steep development curve in the professional game. Better judgment on when to make a high-risk play — again something he found easy success with against teenagers — will help him mould into more of a professional defenceman, as well. That characteristic was another chink in his armour in his draft year.
Despite some flaws that will need to be ironed out, with exceptional mobility and a high hockey IQ, Broberg could be an unpolished gem in the NHL Draft around the place where the Montreal Canadiens will make their first selection.
Broberg will reach maximum speed in just a few strides with amazing acceleration. He can maintain that speed with ease, however he will need to work on lateral movement and his pivots to elevate them to that same level.
When in a defensive position, his balance and leg strength is used to protect the puck with little effort. Unfortunately, professional players are often putting in a much greater effort to strip pucks from opposition players, and Broberg therefore struggles in that department even when just going up a few age classes, as was evident in the World Juniors this year.
He handles the puck,and when you add that to his speed and confidence he can be effective getitng the puck out of the defensive zone with control. His vision and hockey sense are good, so he will create or join the rush to overload the defenders, both on the rush and in cycle play. He has creativity and can deliver a pass on his teammates’ blades from his position on the blue line.
Though he has a good understanding of the game, he needs polishing in certain aspects. This year provided a lot of learning when he can play the safe option out and when to go with the high-risk, high-reward play, and not just opt for the spectacular play because he had normally seen it work in his earlier years.
His reads and positioning will also take a while to develop by that same cycle. It should not be an insurmountable obstacle in his hockey career thanks to his hockey smarts, but until there is evidence that Broberg is altering his play to increase his overall effectiveness, he is still a joker in the deck.
Rankings (not all rankings are final)
Elite Prospects: #33
Future Considerations: #18
Hockey Prospect: #19
ISS Hockey: #21
NHL Central Scouting: #5 (EU skaters)
It is hard to predict Broberg’s future. The player has all the talent needed to become a major piece of an NHL organization, but with the trouble he has had adapting in the second division in Sweden means that question marks linger.
He will not be ready for the NHL for a couple of years, but who is to say that he cannot become a very good — even the best — defensive player in his draft class? It will take time, and the club that drafts him will have to be patient, yet persistent, with his development.