Detroit Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde isn’t looking for perfection from his players. He’s looking for progress. Day-to-day improvement.
“That’s what we ask guys to do,” Lalonde said. “Improve from last game to this game and I thought (Elmer Soderblom) did that (Wednesday).”
Six-foot-eight left wing Soderstrom has played two preseason games and done nothing to diminish the enthusiasm the Red Wings have for his potential. He owns a goal and an assist, six shots on goal, two blocked shots and seven hits. He is also +2.
Lalonde thought he was better in Wednesday’s loss to the Blackhawks than he was in Tuesday’s 6-2 win at Pittsburgh. He scored his goal against the Penguins.
“Around the puck more,” Lalonde said. “More assertive. You could see more confidence in his game.”
How Swede it Is
Soderblom is expected to play his third consecutive preseason game at home tonight against the Washington Capitals. Six-foot-six defenseman Simon Edvinsson is also in the lineup. Detroit captain Dylan Larkin refers to those players as the “Swedish basketball team.”
Those two players, along with fellow Swede Jonatan Berggren, are the rookies with the best chance of making the Red Wings roster. But it’s hard to know how strong their chances truly are. It will depend on how well they play, how well some Detroit veterans perform and how many injuries the Red Wings have.
With a full American Hockey League season on his resume, Berggren, 22, is the most experienced of the three. He is a playmaking winger. Soderblom obviously offers more bulk and a scoring touch around the net. He has hands, evidenced by his 21 goals in 52 games last season in the Swedish Hockey League
Lalonde says he will be looking for more consistency out of Soderblom.
“You see some young habits,” Lalonde said. “He’s exposes the puck a ton, which is an easily correctable skill, part of a young guy’s development. He has some of the open ice turnovers because he exposes the puck. That is something that can be learned and taught. He will figure it out. Play away from the puck. A little more protection.”