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Soderblom Comes up Big in Return to Griffins Lineup

Big Elmer nets tally as Grand Rapids wins



Elmer Soderblom, Red Wings
Red Wings prospect Elmer Soderblom scored a goal in his AHL playoff debut for the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Okay, to celebrate the return of Elmer Soderblom to the lineup of the Grand Rapids Griffins, let’s get all of the big puns out of the way.

Yes, he was looming large. Certainly, he was an imposing presence. And of course, Soderblom came up big.

What else would you be expecting from the 6-foot-8, 255-pound Detroit Red Wings prospect?

Coming back into action following a battle with illness, Soderblom would net a goal as the Griffins were posting a 4-3 overtime victory over the Rockford IceHogs in Game 3 of their AHL Calder Cup playoff series. The Griffins are leading the best-of-five set 2-1.

Hey, even Soderblom’s Griffins teammates were delighted get in on the puns.

“Yeah, obviously it’s huge,” forward Marco Kasper said. “He’s a huge presence. I mean, 6-8.

“But huge goal from him. Played a great game.”

Griffins Soderblom Deals With Ups And Downs

The illness that struck him down and out of the lineup was the latest twist and turn in the Soderblom saga since the player chosen 159th overall in the 2019 NHL entry draft was arriving in Detroit at the start of last season.

Soderblom won a spot with the Red Wings out of training camp. The 22-year-old Swede would be spending the first half of the season playing in the NHL Sent to Grand Rapids in midseason, that’s where he’s toiled ever since.

To say it’s gone swimmingly for him would be a tall tale. There’s been some big swings in momentum where Soderblom’s career path is concerned.

“It’s been challenging,” Soderblom readily admits. “It’s a lot different game compared to overseas. So I’m learning every single day in every game, I think, and it’s a process, but I feel like I’m taking steps all the time.

“So, yeah, I’m just looking forward to getting even better and show my game and show what I can do.”

At times, the ebbs and flows in the process of his development as a player have gotten the better of Soderblom’s psyche.

“Of course, sometimes it’s frustrating,” Soderblom said. “You feel like you can do more and you feel like you can play better and stuff like that. But I think you just have to be patient and stick with your plan and your goals.

“Just keep changing your goals and just improving every day.”

Strong Second Half In Grand Rapids

Soderblom appeared to b truly be finding his game durng the second half of the current AHL campaign. Eight of his 13 goals came over his last 22 regular-season games. Including his goal Friday, he has a tally in six of the past 13 games.

“I feel like I’m kind of taking in different stuff all the time, learning,” Soderblom said. “Learn different things and just the overall game, you know, being in the right spot and use my game and my style to my advantage.

“I think I’m just kind of learning as the process goes on and just play with my style as much as I can.”

One of those items he’s checking off his agenda is discovering how to best use his massive frame to his advantage.

“Exactly,” Soderblom said. “I think a lot of it’s just learning find a game that fits for you and bringing something special and different to the team. So I feel like I’m getting better, better and closer to that.”

Healthy and back in action, the step in Soderblom’s evolution is to become a physcial presence for the Griffins during the AHL postseason.

“I tried to bring my game,” he said of his AHL postseason debut. “I try to play physical and just use my size as much as possible.

“With the games that come up, I think I’m going to grow into that game more and more here.”