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18-year-old defenceman Victor Soderstrom has already started playing games against men, with four goals and three assists in 44 games for the Brynas main club in the SHL. Those seven points gave him the season lead for most points by an under-18 junior-aged player in the league. He also put up eight points in 14 games with Brynas Under-20 squad. In 2016-17 he led the Swedish Under-18 league in points by a defence. He also led the league in assists by a defenceman in both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.
Soderstrom was part of Sweden’s silver medal winning team at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup this summer. In two tournament games, he put up a goal and an assist. Soderstrom is currently preparing for the IIHF Under-18 World Championships where he will be a key piece of the Swedish blueline. Last season, he represented his country at the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge. He put up one goal in that five-game tournament.
Victor Soderstrom Scouting Report
Defence — shoots Right
Born February 26th, 2001 — Skutskär, Sweden
Height 5’11” — Weight 187 lbs [180 cm / 85 kg]
Soderstrom is an elite skater which allows him to play an effective two-way game. His speed is exceptional, in both directions. He gets up to speed quickly, with excellent acceleration and a great first step. He also has very good edgework and agility, allowing him to quickly change directions. With good pivots, he transitions from offence to defence and vice-versa quickly. This also allows him to cover huge areas of ice and makes him tough to beat in one-on-one situations. Soderstrom is strong on his skates allowing him to win battles on the boards and in front of the net at the junior level. However, he is a bit undersized and this becomes more apparent when he plays against men. His low centre of gravity can help going forward, provided he adds more muscle to his frame.
Soderstrom has good vision and passing skills, whether it is starting the rush or quarterbacking the play at the point. He can also make the long breakaway pass in transition. His wrist shot features a quick release but he needs to be more accurate and add power. While he has improved his slap shot over the last year, there is still more work to do. The lack of power in his shot is the biggest limiting factor to his offensive game right now. Soderstrom can handle the puck, skating it out of danger or rushing through the neutral zone.
Soderstrom is a very intelligent player. He reads the play extremely well, whether that be playing at the point on the power play or in leading the rush. His ability to anticipate and read the movements of his teammates and opponents allows him to be creative and create scoring chances.
Soderstrom is also very good defensively, with a quick stick. He is tough to beat in one-on-one situations and forces opponents to the outside. His positioning is very good as he reads the play well and keeps himself between his opponent and the net. Soderstrom is strong on his skates and willing to play a physical game but is not a big hitter. That said, he battles hard along the boards and in front of the net. This is another area where he will need to get stronger to play this style going forward. He is more comfortable using his stick to poke check an opponent and steal the puck away. He also cuts off passing lanes. Soderstrom uses his skating ability and smarts to maintain good gap control.
Projection and Comparison
Soderstrom projects to be a solid all-around defenceman. There are some size concerns but with the way the NHL is going in recent years, they should not limit his potential. His elite skating and high IQ allows him to compensate for that lack of size. Continued improvement on his slap shot will allow him to become a dynamic threat on the power play. Soderstrom’s game is reminiscent of Hampus Lindholm but this is a style comparison only and not one based on skill or ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Victor Soderstrom that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Main Photo via youtube.