Of all the Swedes in the Detroit Red Wings pipeline, the giant Elmer Soderblom is the most imposing. But what else does he bring to the table besides his towering frame?
Frolunda J-20 (SHL Juniors)
Games played: 4
Games played: 28
Games played: 5
Soderblom is a member of a Swedish organization Red Wings fans should be accustomed to at this point – Frolunda. Soderblom made his way out of the juniors and on to the main roster this season, playing in 28 games as a pro. In this 28 games, Soderblom scored three goals and added a couple assists.
Soderblom’s 6-foot-8 frame is quite easy to spot on tape. For his size, Soderblom is actually a decent skater. However, he “makes his money” as a winger at the net; either blitzing opposing goaltenders straight from the blueline or patiently setting screens waiting for high-danger chances. Once he has the puck, Soderblom uses his deceptively quick hands to force a shot.
Obviously, with his size, Soderblom also likes to throw big hits. Although he’s not really quick enough to be truly effective defensively, his imposing figure can be enough to slow down opponents and/or close down offensive lanes.
Soderblom still needs plenty of work. He has the raw talent to make it in the NHL: massive frame, soft hands/great stickhandling and decent agility (for his size). The problem is, at this point in his development, he’s pretty one dimensional. Although his size certainly makes it difficult, opponents can mute Soderblom’s affect on the game by blocking offensive lanes, ensuring that he doesn’t have opportunity to drive straight to the net.
This year will certainly be an interesting one in Frolunda, as Soderblom will join fellow Detroit prospects Simon Edvinsson and Liam Dower Nilsson in the organization. It will also be an important year in Soderblom’s development with the team, as it’ll be his first full season in the pros.
When Soderblom makes it to North America, he’ll probably need some time in the AHL to adjust before heading to the Red Wings – keep in mind, he’s a former sixth-round draft pick. The NHL is quick and full of elite players, Soderblom can’t come into the league as a one-trick pony. But the talent is there, and there’s a chance Detroit fans will get to see Soderblom on the main roster at some point – but it’ll be a while.