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Detroit Red Wings

Big Change Coming For Griffins Entering Game 3

Towering forward Soderblom back in action for Grand Rapids



Red Wings forward Elmer Soderblom
After missing the first two games due to illness, Elmer Soderblom is back for the Griffins in Game 3 of the Calder Cup playoffs.

A change is about to be made that could be looming large for the Grand Rapids Griffins in Game 3 of their Calder Cup series with the Rockford IceHogs.

Towering forward Elmer Soderblom will be back in action for the Griffins. He was missing during the first two games of the series due to a lingering illness.

“That’s the plan,” Griffins coach Dan Watson said. “He was unavailable (Wednesday) night . . . getting over the sickness that he’s had for a long time here.”

“It looks like he’s finally turned that corner. Now it’s just making sure he has the capacity to handle the amount we want to give him and the amount of minutes he needs to play and play at a high level.”

With the best-of-seven set deadlocked at 1-1, Watson wasn’t even attempting to hide his delight about the impending opportunity to unleash the 6-foot-8, 255-pound Soderblom to wreak havoc against the IceHogs.

His size obviously,” Watson listed as the big thing Soderblom brings to the ice. “The puck protection down low. Getting some traffic in front of the net.

“It’s something we lacked (Wednesday) night and even lacked a little in Game 1. When he’s moving, when he’s using his body, he’s physical, he’s a presence out there.”

Griffins Soderblom Second Half Sensation

Last season, the player Detroit chose 159th overall in the 2019 NHL entry draft began the campaign with the Red Wings. At midseason following an injury, Soderblom was given assignment to the AHL Griffins, where he’s been playing ever since.

After a slow start to the 2023-24 AHL season, Soderblom was ramping up his performance. Over his past 12 games, Soderblom netted five goals. He scored eight of his 13 goals on the season for the Griffins in his past 22 games.

“He started imposing his will a little bit on the opposition,” Watson said. “By that I mean he was getting in the corners, using his size the right way. He wasn’t really on the outside, he was playing more inside, getting inside the dots, getting around the net, which he wasn’t doing at the start of the year.

“He was trying to be a little too creative, a little too fancy. Too much stickwork and stickhandling.”

Since simplifying his approach, Soderblom has been simply sensational.

“He made it simple,” Watson said. “He played the game north and south, he got in on the forecheck, again using his length and reach to the most of his ability.

“That kind of helped propel him into a more offensive role, more so than he got in the first half.”