We’re sticking with players projected to go somewhere around the time the Flyers are picking, and now we’re talking about need! The Flyers need defensemen! And they might just have a pretty enticing option in front of them.
BSH 2019 Draft Profile: Victor Soderstrom
Position / Team: D / Brynas (SHL)
2018-19 Statistics: 4 G, 3 A in 44 GP
Size: 5’11”, 183
No. 3 (European skaters) by NHL Central Scouting
No. 11 by Future Considerations
No. 14 by ISS Hockey
No. 27 by Pronman/The Athletic
What’s there to like?
Soderstrom is, first and foremost, an excellent puck mover. His skating is very good, and he’s able to handle the puck well when moving with speed, and is strong enough to protect the puck while moving it up-ice, and smart enough to do so easily, without getting himself into trouble. His vision of the ice is excellent, as is his awareness, which also contribute to his skill moving the puck in transition. His passing is very strong and, when given the opportunity to use it, his shot can be dangerous as well.
We love talking about a defenseman’s mobility and potential offensive upside, and while we get very excited about that, we can’t help but worry if it might come at the expense of the defensive side of the player’s game. But, not to worry, this doesn’t seem to be a concern for Soderstrom—his defensive instincts are sound, he makes good decisions, and is cool under pressure. In short, Soderstrom brings a distinctly complete game, making him just about an all-around threat.
What’s not to like?
He’s small? Well, not terribly small, but 5’11” and 183 pounds for a defensemen might sound a little small to you. He could stand to bulk up a bit more, but with his overall mobility, and the fact that we’ve seen “smaller” defensemen find success at the NHL level, maybe this doesn’t have to be that big of a concern.
Another piece that he could stand to work on does come from his skating. His skating itself is good and he looks fine once he gets moving, but there isn’t quite the explosiveness to his skating that you might want to see in a strong puck-moving defensemen. It could well be fixable, but it is, at present, a drawback.
How would he fit in the Flyers’ system?
In short, very well. Right handed defensemen are a valuable commodity in the league as a whole, but the Flyers in particular could stand to start restocking their pipeline of defensemen. Indeed, Fletcher and Flahr made note of their desire to do so at their press conference a couple weeks ago. They wouldn’t be asking Soderstrom to come in and make an immediate impact with the team—there isn’t the space for that right now—but a few years down the road, they may well need help filling out their defense from within the organization, and Soderstrom seems an easy fit there.
Could the Flyers actually get him?
Looking at those rankings that we dropped at the top of the article, it looks like Soderstrom projects to still be on the board at 11, so the Flyers do stand a chance, there! As we said with Suzuki, if he is still on the board at that point, it just means the Flyers would have to decide that he is indeed the best player available at the time. Or, even if he isn’t, and they decide to do a bit of a reach to fill a need, that might not be the worst thing. Either way, it looks like he may be available.