NHL Prospect Profile: Victor Söderström

– Victor Söderström –

Brynäs IF (SuperElit) | Right Defence | 2019 NHL Draft Eligible

Skutskär, Sweden | February 26, 2001 | 5-foot-11, 176-pounds

Victor Söderström is a dynamic, mobile, two-way defenceman who can be a game-breaker at either end of the ice. As a 16-year-old in 2017-18, he split time between Sweden’s top two U18 leagues as well as it’s top U20 league, SuperElit. In those total games, Söderström tallied 10 goals and 37 points over 48 games. Unfortunately, he was injured at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup after two games, limiting his ability to show North American scouts his full potential.

Söderström is an extremely smart player who makes excellent decisions with the puck. He also uses these instincts while defending in order to break up offensive rushes. A gifted two-way defender, Söderström has exciting offensive upside through his combination of skating ability and vision of the ice.

Strengths:

  • Hockey Sense
  • Two-Way Play
  • Skating

Victor Söderström has the potential to be a potent, two-way force. His offensive game is fuelled by his hockey sense and skating ability. Söderström reads the ice very well and can make a smart decision as to when to join the rush to create an odd-man rush or to carry the puck through the neutral zone and put his team on the attack.

Söderström has a great first three steps, accelerating to impressive top speeds very quickly. He’s also agile which helps him to buy time and space with the puck in his own zone before successfully breaking the puck out. He is dynamic on the powerplay as well, moving the puck north-south and east-west from the point to open up passing and shooting lanes.

Weaknesses:

  • Strength

On the other hand, Söderström remains a relatively average-sized defenceman. Although he is never afraid to use his body to engage in the physical side of the game, it can be a disadvantage when boxing out opponents in front of his net. As well, he can be overwhelmed against larger opponents in board battles.

If Söderström is able to add some muscle before June 2019, he may be able to boost the confidence of NHL general managers in selecting him. As a 17-year-old, he still has lots of time to grow and mature with time put into the gym. As such, this likely won’t be a worry when projecting Söderström’s NHL potential.

Future Potential:

Victor Söderström has the potential to become a top-pairing defenceman in the NHL, as well as a powerplay specialist. While he would be considered to be a small defender by today’s standards, he fits all the characteristics of the new era of the league; hockey IQ, skating, and skill. Söderström plays a style comparable to Jared Spurgeon of the Minnesota Wild. Heading into the ’18-19 season, Söderström appears to be a lock as a Top-20 pick for the 2019 NHL Draft.

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