When Elmer Soderblom was first extended an invitation to try out for the Swedish national team that was preparing for the IIHF World Championship, it wasn’t supposed to be for now. The thinking was that the experience would be a good investment for Soderblom’s future.
Well, it’s turning out that Soderblom’s future is right now.
The Detroit Red Wings prospect wound up earning a spot on Sweden’s squad that will be playing in the world tourney in Finland beginning on Friday and continuing through May 29.
Soderblom A Sensation
Soderblom was playing strongly in Sweden’s pre-tournament games. His scoring of a spectacular highlight-reel goal against Finland was drawing rave reviews.
The hulking 6-foot-8, 249-pound winger, selected 159th overall by Detroit in the 2019 NHL entry draft, is following up on a stellar regular-season performance. He was the leading goal scorer for Frolunda of the SHL with 21.
Is Elmer Soderblom actually 11’ 3” ??????? https://t.co/S2hO3YifnE
— Daniella Bruce (@daniellabruce_) May 5, 2022
Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman is admitting that the team is cautiously optimistic about the potential Soderblom is showing in Sweden translating into making the 21-year-old an NHL regular.
Mixed emotions For Other Red Wings
Detroit netminder Magnus Hellberg was also earning a spot in the Swedish squad. Hellberg was previously playing for his country at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.
Forward Jonatan Berggren wasn’t as lucky. A bout of COVID-19 resulted in the Swedes leaving the Grand Rapids Griffins forward and top Red Wings prospect out of their squad for the second year in a row. He’s suffering from COVID-19.
Grand Rapids teammate Riley Barber and Jonatan Berggren and Syracuse's Max Lagace have been selected as @TheAHL's monthly award winners for April.
— AHL Communications (@AHLPR) May 2, 2022
Among the other intriguing names earning a spot on the team was former Red Wings forward Mathias Brome. After playing for Detroit in 2021, Brome ended up playing the 2021-22 season with Davos in Switzerland. Recently, though, Brome, hugely popular in his homeland where his nickname is ‘The Bomb’, was creating a nationwide buzz by signing with Orebo for the 2022-23 sseason.
Roster Is Not Yet Finalized
Swedish coach Johan Garpenlov, the former Red Wings forward, is cautioning everyone that the tinkering with his roster is far from over. He is still able to add Swedish players from the SHL championship between Farjestad and Lulea.
Game 7 in the set is going on Thursday. That showdown is featuring two Detroit prospects – defenseman Albert Johnasson (Farjestad) and forward Pontus Andreasson (Lulea).
— IcehockeyGifs (@IcehockeyG) May 11, 2022
As well, Garpenlov is free to be adding Swedish players from NHL clubs that suffer first-round elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs.
“We want to make our team as good as possible,” Garpenlov told Expressen.se. “If there are Swedes who are eliminated over there who we think are better than the ones we have, then we will call. I hope they say yes, but we’ll see what the news will be.”
Soderblom Carrying On Red Wings Tradition
It’s not uncommon for a future Red Wings Swedish player to make waves with the national team on the world stage prior to setting foot in Detroit.
Henrik Zetterberg was a selection to the 2002 Swedish Olympic team that played in Salt Lake City. He made his Red Wings debut in 2002-03.
Nicklas Lidstrom helped the Swedes win the 1991 world title and also skated in the 1991 Canada Cup prior to his 1991-92 rookie season in Detroit.