Elmer Soderblom can’t help but stand out in a crowd. At 6-foot-8, that trait just comes naturally to the rookie Detroit Red Wings forward.
“He’s huge,” Detroit teammate Dominik Kubalik said of Soderblom. “When I saw him the first time, I thought, ‘He’s a big kid.’
“He skates pretty well, got a good shot, got pretty good hands. It’s exciting to watch him.”
It most certainly is, and it has been for quite some time.
In Friday’s 4-2 NHL preseason win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, Soderblom was adding the latest chapter to his ongoing book of highlight-reel goals.
Coming off the half boards with the puck, Soderblom navigated his massive frame around a trio of Toronto defenders before causually lifting a backhand into the top corner of the Maple Leafs net.
Soderblom’s going to be a problem for teams this year pic.twitter.com/sjs4GH2Zcm
— Spittin' Chiclets (@spittinchiclets) October 8, 2022
“I got the puck, I had no speed so I was trying to protect the puck as I was going to the net and I just tried to get a shot off and it went in,” Soderblom explained. “So it was fun.”
Soderblom Scoring Bobby Orr Goal
Making his first-ever appearance for Sweden’s senior national team, Soderblom was skating last spring in a pre-World Championship game against rival Finland. In that tilt, he ended up scoring his initial tally as a full national for his homeland. It instantly drew comparisons to one of hockey’s most legendary goals.
— IcehockeyGifs (@IcehockeyG) May 1, 2022
Driving to the Finnish net, Soderblom darted past one Finnish defender, then utilized an elusive move to get around two more before deking the goalie and depositing the puck in the net. As he was doing so, a late-arriving Finland checker flipped Soderblom’s legs out from under him, sending his 6-foot-8, 249-pound frame airborne.
“I got a good pass from (Filip) Roos, had a lot of space and stepped in there in front of the goal,” Soderblom explained at the time to Swedish website Aftonbladet. “So it was nice.”
The goalie he victimized on the play? Current Red Wings teammate Juho “Jussi” Olkinoura.
Hockey pundits were comparing the goal to Bobby Orr’s legendary Stanley Cup-winning tally for the Boston Bruins in 1970.
Between The Legs For A Pair
Soderblom was first displaying his knack for highlight-reel markers to North American fans at the 2021 World Junior Championship. Twice in that tourney, he would be scoring goals from the slot with his back to the net by shooting the puck between his legs.
Interestingly, both of those goals were the result of set ups from another current Red Wings forward, Lucas Raymond.