Philip Broberg could be a gamble worth taking for the Toronto Maple Leafs

Photo credit:Steven Ellis/Daily Faceoff
James Reeve
7 months ago
Philip Broberg might be looking for a fresh start and the Toronto Maple Leafs should consider taking a gamble on the young defenceman.
Selected by the Edmonton Oilers with the eighth pick of the 2019 NHL Draft, Philip Broberg was viewed as a promising young player with a solid two-way game that could translate over to the NHL. With a big frame at 6-foot-3, 198lbs, the smooth puck-handling Swede was the third defenceman taken in the draft, after Bowen Byram (fourth, Colorado Avalanche) and Moritz Seider (sixth, Detroit Red Wings). Byram is establishing himself with the Avalanche,  and Seider is a star already for Detroit, but Broberg has yet to truly break out in the NHL. Last season looked promising for the Örebro native, where he averaged 12:36 in a bottom-pairing role through 46 games – bringing his career total appearances to 69 ahead of this season.
This season, however, things have not been working out for the 22-year-old. So far, Broberg has played in just 10 NHL games and has averaged just 10:32 when on the ice. The lack of playing time, coupled with the flexibility of his Entry-Level waiver ineligibility, has seen him also play four times for the Bakersfield Condors, registering two assists.
Defencemen typically take longer to develop in the early stages of their professional career, compared to forwards at least, so seeing Broberg not yet established in the NHL may not necessarily be too surprising. However, with a player of his potential, having him bounce around and not have a genuine chance to play regularly is sure to be frustrating.
This then leads to the recent reports that Broberg is interested in finding himself a fresh start elsewhere in the league. Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported that the Oilers have given Broberg’s camp permission to seek a possible trade partner. General Manager Ken Holland, who drafted Broberg, has since stated that permission has not been given. That does not mean the player and his agent are not looking at forcing the issue, however. While it may not be an immediate change, if Broberg does not find himself in the line-up more often over the coming weeks, then there’s every reason to believe that the Oilers would be willing to part ways with him if they can find a suitable trade partner.
So, why not the Toronto Maple Leafs?
The Leafs have a need on defence, with John Klingberg officially ruled out for the season and Mark Giordano currently listed week-to-week, along with Timothy Liljegren who progresses in his own injury recovery. William Lagesson and Simon Benoit have stepped up at times this season, playing 14 and nine games respectively, but neither of them has the potential ceiling that a young, former early first-round pick like Broberg has.
Broberg would benefit from a change of scenery, and Toronto could be a good place for him. He would have fellow countrymen such as Liljegren, Lagesson, Calle Järnkrok and William Nylander on the team and would be able to rub shoulders with some talented veterans on the team, including Morgan Rielly and T.J. Brodie. He would either be given a genuine shot at the bottom six or would be placed with the Toronto Marlies for an extended period to find his rhythm while being kept under the close eye of the NHL team. This approach could help him further his development, and grow into the player he was viewed as being when he was drafted eighth overall. His cap hit is low, at just $863,334 and he is an impending RFA after this year. His qualifying offer will be low and it’s unlikely that at this stage he could even negotiate a long-term deal or any kind of significant pay increase due to his still-unproven position in the league.
While all of this is a positive for the Leafs, would it cost a significant amount to acquire him?
If Seravalli’s report is to be believed, the Oilers would be looking at a player who could contribute to the team now, rather than acquiring draft picks. There’s some areas the team could look at in that regard. Goaltending is the obvious choice, defence as they would be losing a promising player from that group, or depth scoring.
The Leafs could certainly offer something for goaltending and depth scoring. The Oilers have a history of picking up former Leafs goaltenders, to varying degrees of success, so why not take on one currently with the organisation?
Martin Jones is the Leafs’ unofficial third goalie, primarily playing with the Marlies when he isn’t called up to provide support with Ilya Samsonov struggling with illness. He is a veteran of 444 NHL games and even had 27 wins for the Seattle Kraken last season. He would be eager to play in the NHL again and would have a genuine shot at sticking around in the show with the Oilers. Add to that he has a cap hit of just $875,000, which would fit perfectly into Edmonton’s cap picture. If the Oilers truly need to strengthen in net, Jones could entice them enough to make a deal.
Alternatively, if the Oilers would prefer a player who can play now but also have room to grow and develop, providing depth scoring now and for the foreseeable future, is Alex Steeves. Steeves has impressed with the Marlies ever since making his debut in the 2021-22 season, and this year he has 19 points in just 15 games. However, the 23-year-old has been unable to break into the Leafs’ line-up and has just six NHL appearances to his name. He would also save the Oilers some money as his cap hit comes in at $834,167 – just under $20,000 cheaper.
A Broberg for Steeves swap could work for both teams, giving the Oilers a player who is hungry and very much looks NHL ready while offloading a player they do not want to give opportunities to on their blueline.
It’s hard to say whether or not the Leafs would consider this as a potential avenue, but it’s certainly an intriguing gamble that could pay dividends should Broberg live up to his draft day expectations.

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