In the 2019 NHL Entry Level Draft, the Detroit Red Wings selected Elmer Soderblom in the sixth round with the 159th overall pick. Soderblom has been playing in Sweden for the Frolunda hockey team ever since.
This year he is getting his shot at a spot on the team, and I think he is making the most of it! I attended the first two home games against Chicago and Washington this week and focused on him when he was on the ice to try and get a good feel for what he is all about.
I didn’t watch the first preseason game against Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. Looking at the game recap on nhl.com, I see that he scored a goal in that game and had three shots on goal, four hits, and two blocked shots. Not a bad night for his first game playing with the Wings, as the game ended up a 6-2 victory for the boys over a team I can’t stand.
Elmer Soderblom has played in all three of the Red Wings’ preseason games this year and is playing great. Is he exceeding expectations?
I saw him play on Wednesday night at the first home preseason game of the year. Coming in at 6’8″ and 248 lbs, it’s hard to miss him out on the ice.
With that size, he makes some other guys on the ice look small and knows how to throw all that weight around. Soderblom put some big hits on the Blackhawks and used his size to make space for himself around the net, shoving defenders around easily.
Being such a big guy, I didn’t expect him to have the skating ability and puck-handling skills that he does. His speed is above what I would expect from a guy his size after watching other big guys in the league. There were several times when he could slice right past defenders, get an excellent first shot on the net, and put the puck in a good spot.
This is what led to his assist on the Wings’ first goal of the night by Adam Erne. Soderblom came down the ice with the puck and immediately put a shot on goal, which bounced off the goalie, and Erne was there to pick up the loose change. It was great to see him picking up points at home.
I was impressed by how he handled the puck below the goal line in the offensive zone. He can make space and time with his size and looks for a solid opportunity rather than just moving the puck. Soderblom has no problem being aggressive to get possession of the puck. His passes appeared crisp, something I feel the Wings have struggled with for a while now.
Overall, I was quite impressed with how he played; his numbers were good for the night. He got the assist on the Erne goal, three shots on goal, and three hits. He ended up with a plus two on the night and is the only rookie prospect to have both a goal and an assist in the three games.
The Wings played the Capitals Friday night, and Elmer Soderblom was in the lineup again. He put in a decent performance but couldn’t get going as he had in the first two games.
Unfortunately, they were shut out 2-0 by the Caps, so it’s not like anyone on the team got going this night. Soderblom did make some solid defensive plays and still showed potential as the Wings held Washington to only one goal with a goalie in the net.
Can Elmer Soderblom make the lineup for the Wings this season?
Based on what I have seen, I feel Soderblom has an outside chance at making the team this year, but I wouldn’t bet money on it.
However, it wouldn’t be shocking to me if he made the team. He’s a big guy who can bring some needed physicality to the team and potentially put up some decent offensive numbers.
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Even if he ends up in Grand Rapids to start the season, it seems inevitable that he makes his way into some NHL games at some point during the season. What do you think about what you have seen from Soderblom so far? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.