It came to the surprise of many that when the Arizona Coyotes transacted a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers to move up three positions to the 11th spot in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, that they had their eye on Victor Soderstrom. The Coyotes sent their 45th overall pick to the Flyers to exchange draft positions. The Philadelphia club then selected defenceman Cam York.
With the NHL increasing all team’s roster size to 28, Victor Soderstrom will more than likely be a black ace for the team. A wild-card player who can step up in case of injuries to spark the team’s performance in the play-in five-game series against the Nashville Predators. This would not only fill a void, if necessary but also give the team a good look at the 19-year-old who is progressing well in his bid to be in the NHL. It was nothing short of an obvious move to allow him to play in Sweden one more year before promoting him to the AHL Tucson Roadrunners next season.
Victor Soderstrom Could Be Key
The Coyotes, like most teams, have had key injuries to their blueline. That can be disastrous without proper backup players to fill in when needed. They lost veteran D-man Niklas Hjalmarsson to injury and he only managed 27 games this season. Jason Demers was out for 20 games and Jakob Chychrun missed seven contests.
This is where Soderstrom may become invaluable. He’s a good skater, makes sound defensive decisions and could be the future of the team’s blue line. The 6′-0″, 196-pound defenceman has gained some needed weight to compete amongst older and larger players in the NHL. Don’t forget, he’s just 19-years-old.
Coyotes Key to Winning Play-In Series
There’s no doubt that the Coyotes are a strong defensive team. They finished tied for third in goals-against-average in the NHL with a 2.61 average. They are weak on offence and if the defence decides this series (as it does most series) the Coyotes should have the upper hand against a Nashville team. The Predators do score more than the Coyotes with 3.07 goals scored per game. The Yotes only average 2.71 goals a game.
So, it could very well be a defensive battle. The Coyotes have shown they are a premier defensive team, when healthy. And, if a defenceman goes down, what’s the chances that Soderstrom will be inserted into the lineup? Good to fair seems about right. He plays way above his age with maturity and good decision-making on the ice.
If Soderstrom gets into some game action against Nashville look for him to try to impress the management and coaching staff. He yearns to make them believe that he is NHL material. Since he was pegged to be playing in the AHL next season, this could really help his progression. He wants to play in the best league on the planet.
While he’s still young, there’s nothing like true playoff experience to accelerate an NHL career forward. It will be up to the coaching staff to decide if he’s ready to play at this level or not. There’s really no rush, yet having him waiting in the wings has to be an attractive alternative for the Coyotes.
It can be projected that Victor Soderstrom will be a key player in years to come for the Coyotes. He is a right-hand shot, and like his fellow countrymen, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Hjalmarsson, he looks to be a good addition to the defensive unit.
Soderstrom is young, and the team needs to be patient with him. He possesses some talent and is eager to show what he can do at the next level of his development. The only question, do you really want to throw him into a situation where he helps decide the team’s possibility of being one of the 16 teams who can compete for the Stanley Cup?
We’ll soon find out.