Elmer Soderblom is rapidly studying how to use his 6-foot-8, 249-pound body to display the goaltender, shield the puck and be exhausting to play in opposition to.
If he can mix that giant dimension with nifty arms, like he confirmed final season in Sweden, he might be one of the crucial distinctive gamers within the NHL in the future quickly for the Detroit Red Wings.
Soderblom, 21, has stood out throughout the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City as he prepares for his first season in North America, possible with the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins.
“Three years in the past, I used to be not likely that easy and comfy with my physique and large dimension,” Soderblom mentioned. “I feel I’m nonetheless engaged on it, utilizing my dimension, and I feel it is going higher and higher.
“I feel my power is assault mindset and being across the web and to be powerful to play in opposition to, shield the puck and use my massive body. I do not know if I mannequin my sport after a particular participant. I would like to be distinctive in my very own method.”
The 2019 sixth-round decide (159th total) is definitely distinctive. Former Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Zdeno Chara, at 6-9, is the one participant in NHL historical past taller than Soderblom. Among energetic gamers, Vancouver defenseman Tyler Myers and Ottawa goaltending prospect Mads Sogaard are 6-8 as effectively.
Ben Simon, who’s teaching the Red Wings prospects and will be Soderblom’s coach in Grand Rapids, famous the strides he has made since his first and solely look in North America on the improvement camp three years in the past.
“His skating has gotten so significantly better,” Simon mentioned. “Just rising into his physique he is grow to be loads stronger. You do not train me. So, while you’ve acquired that physique and that power in your skates, and he protects the puck so effectively, if he can play beneath the tops of the circles and take pucks to the online and make a dwelling on the web entrance, he is going to be thrilling for Wings fans to watch.
“It’ll be curious to see how that projection occurs and the way that improvement continues and what sort of path he goes down. I’m certain Detroit’s extraordinarily pleased with the place he is at proper now.”
Soderblom made a few good performs in Saturday’s 5-4 loss to Dallas. He scored a purpose by driving to the online and changing a move from 2022 fourth-round decide Amadeus Lombardi. Soderblom additionally made a terrific stretch move to spring Cross Hanas free for a breakaway purpose.
Simon mentioned Soderblom is likely one of the gamers who “actually stands out,” not solely due to his dimension, but in addition his expertise.
“He’s shifting his ft extraordinarily effectively,” Simon mentioned. “He’s going to have an fascinating time within the professional sport by way of shifting the puck quicker. You’ve acquired rather less time, much less area to transfer round. That might be helpful to him, however I additionally suppose it is going to be somewhat little bit of an acclimation interval the place he has to be taught to use that to his profit.”
Simon mentioned it is only a matter of Soderblom “getting some traction” in North America.
“From what I noticed final of him to the place he’s now, nice strides, nice progress,” Simon mentioned.
Soderblom’s confidence grew final season when he tallied 21 targets and 33 factors in 52 video games for Frolunda within the Swedish Hockey League.
“(The Red Wings) informed me they need to see what I did in Frolunda, preserve enjoying my sport and possibly add somewhat extra physicality and play with my dimension much more,” Soderblom mentioned. “I feel that is what I’ve to do to be ready to take a spot.”
He targeted on enhancing his skating this summer time.
“You acquired to do every little thing somewhat faster and it is somewhat extra bodily I feel,” Soderblom mentioned of enjoying in North America. “You’ve acquired to be ready to take a success and provides a success. Just be fast in your thoughts and (with) your ft and arms.”
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