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Red Wings Review: Elmer Soderblom’s Future

Soderblom made team out of training camp last season



Elmer Soderblom, Red Wings
Elmer Soderblom wil be looking to make the Red Wings again in training camp.

Detroit Hockey Now’s Red Wings Review series is assessing every player who held a significant place in the fortunes of the 2022-23 Detroit Red Wings season. We’ll be looking at the highs and lows they experienced during the recently-completed campaign, as well as what the future holds for them in Detroit. Today, we feature Elmer Soderblom

Elmer Soderblom

Position: Left Wing

2022-23 totals (GP-G-A-PTS-): 21-5-3-8

Contract Status: Signed through the 2024-25 season at an AAV of $878,333.

Season Synopsis

Elmer Soderblom was the delightful surprise of the 2022-23 preseason for the Red Wings. The hulking 6-foot-8, 246-pound forward would earn a spot in the opening-night roster following a strong training camp.

Starting the season strongly, Soderblom would score in his NHL debut. But injuries and a loss of form would leave him on the sideline and ultimately, finishing out the season with the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins.

“Of course it was real fun to start the season in the NHL,” Soderblom said. “At the same time I’m just gonna take it positive and just keep developing my game and become a better player.”

2022-23 Red Wings Highlights

After earning spot in the opening-night lineup against the Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 14 at Little Caesars Arena. Soderblom celebrated by scoring the first goal of Detroit’s 3-0 victory.

He became the fourth Red Wings player in the last 10 years to score a goal in their NHL debut, joining Dennis Cholowski (Oct. 4, 2018), Dylan Larkin (Oct. 9, 2015) and Brian Lashoff (Jan. 21, 2013). Soderblom also became the fifth player in franchise history to score in their first career NHL game and have it stand as the game-winner, joining Steve Martinson (Oct. 9, 1987), Mark
Osborne (Oct. 6, 1981), Connie Brown (Jan. 26, 1939) and Carl Liscombe (Nov. 25, 1937).

Oddly enough, while Soderblom would score five goals during his first 14 NHL games, he wouldn’t be collecting his first NHL assist until Dec. 17 against the Ottawa Senators in his 15th NHL game. He would also account for 3-3-6 numbers over eight games from Dec. 14 to Jan. 7.

“With his size and his hands, I think there’s a potential real NHL player,” Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman said. “Can he do it over the course of an entire season? I hope so.”

2022-23 Red Wings Lowlights

Soderblom would be enduring an eight-point scoreless streak from Oct. 25 to Nov. 8. A lower-body injury suffered while blocking a shot left him on the shelf for 12 games. The decison was made on Dec. 8 to assign Soderblom to the AHL Griffins.

“We didn’t have him on either specialty teams,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde would cite while explaining the decision to demote the rookie forward. “He’ll go down and grow his game and I think there’s going to be a bright future for Elmer.”

Given assignment again to GR in mid-January, Soderblom would finish out the campaign in the AHL. He would go through droughts there as well. Soderblom didn’t register a point through his first six AHL games. He netted one goal over his last 11 games before injury scuttled his campaign in mid-March.

Lalonde believes that Soderblom’s overall game remains a work in progress.

“Making a little more fast twitch in his entire game,” Lalonde was listing as a Soderblom objective. “You can see sometimes he gets gobbled up with a forecheck on the half-wall or the odd turnover, some detail on his defensive game. But he grew in all those areas, which was impressive.”

What Does His Detroit Future Hold?

While the early promise of last season didn’t last long for Soderblom, it’s far too early to be writing him off. With his unique size and skill set, there’s certainly a place for him in the Detroit lineup, if he can earn it.

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“I think he has potential to be part of the future,” Yzerman said. “I still hold out hope for him. Is it next year? I’d like it to be but I can’t guarantee it.

“I have a good idea of what he is as a player. Is there room for growth? Absolutely. I still think he has tons of potential. We’ll see how he does in preseason. Again, if he’s not ready at the start of the year, and he’s not gonna play a significant role, he can go to the minors. It doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world for him.”