Red Wings of Tomorrow is assessing every prospect in the Detroit Red Wings system and what they are projecting to be in the future. We’ll be looking at the strengths and weaknesses of their game, as well as what the future holds for them as they advance through the Detroit organization. Today, we feature left wing Elmer Söderblom.
Position: Left Wing
How Acquired: Selected 159th overall, 2019 NHL entry draft
2021-22 Stats: (GP-G-A-P) 51-21-12-33 (with Frolunda SHL)
Contract Status: Entry-level deal through 2024-25
Anticipated 2022-23 Team: Grand Rapids Griffins
Of the players coming up through the pipeline, one of the most anticipated is the giant six-foot-seven Elmer Söderblom. After a dynamite season in the SHL with 21 goals and 33 points, Söderblom is becoming one of the late round “gems” that many hoped general manager Steve Yzerman would find.
Detroit just landed one of my favorite sleepers at 159. Elmer Soderblom has a lot of work to do, but he's 6-foot-7, has really good hands and skates pretty well for a player of his size. Patience will be required, but he's more than just a big body.
— Chris Peters (@chrismpeters) June 22, 2019
“We need some of these players that are second through seventh rounders to make it,” Yzerman said. “They’re not all going to make it, but it looks like he’s got a good opportunity. You see the highlights: he’s a really good athlete. He’s a big, young man but he’s very athletic in his jumping ability, his coordination. That bodes well for the future.”
A quiet 2021-22 season exploded into a very definitive one for the 21-year-old forward, putting everyone from the front office to the other prospects in the pipeline on notice.
Estimated Time of Arrival in Detroit
This is where it certainly gets interesting. Söderblom turned a lot of heads last season with Frolunda, scoring eye-popping goals, and using his massive frame as if he were a foot shorter. The agility and athleticism he demonstrated certainly makes the Red Wings front office look brilliant.
So now, will it transfer over to North American ice?
Elmer Soderblom has an insane development curve. He moves to a new league every two years and struggles in the 1st year of that league and takes off in the 2nd year in that league. Does he do the same thing in the AHL over the next two years? https://t.co/G9yu8foDVf pic.twitter.com/MH55GnzJBl
— Byron Bader (@ByronMBader) June 9, 2022
If there is anyone who could have a Lucas Raymond-like camp and make it onto the Red Wings opening night roster, Söderblom is the greatest candidate. While Jonatan Berggren has an entire season in Grand Rapids under his belt, Söderblom is making his first appearance on the North American rink soon.
Berggren seems like a safe bet to make the team out of the preseason. Söderblom is right behind him. There are roster spots to be had and a completely new coach and staff assessing everything.
Beyond that, a ringing endorsement from the general manager doesn’t hurt either.
“I don’t want to over-hype him,” Yzerman said when asked about Söderblom’s potential. “And I’m not trying to over-hype him but we’re cautiously optimistic that he’ll be a real good NHLer.”
It shouldn’t be a surprise if Söderblom needs more seasoning in Grand Rapids to acclimate. But in the very same breath, no one should be shocked if the big forward finds his way to Detroit as soon as opening night this October.