An uber competitive two-way defenceman that thinks the game at the highest level, Victor Söderström is the complete package. A naturally gifted skater, his ability to traverse all three zones is best described as smooth and effortless. He never looks disinterested and it’s always apparent just how badly he wants to win. His vision and awareness is outstanding, allowing him to play a responsible yet dynamic brand of hockey.
He’s a dangerous puck-carrier with a great shot. Defensively, he makes good decisions quickly and consistently, never looking out of place when pitted up against the other team’s top players. He pressures the opposition and limits options, never getting in the way of his goalie. All-in-all, Söderström’s competitive instincts allow him to take full advantage of his offensive ability and defensive prowess. He’s a game-changer.
For my money, Soderstrom is the second-best defenseman in the draft. He’s a really good two-way player whose biggest question mark might be how effective he’ll be at his size. While 5’11” defenders don’t carry the stigma they did just five years ago, they still aren’t exactly taking over the NHL and dominating, you know? Soderstrom fits the modern defender though in that he’s very mobile with a polished offensive game but his defense is a work in progress.
One thing I love about Soderstrom in the defensive end that isn’t found in all the guys his size is his competitiveness. He loves battling for the puck and his smarts allow him to get into position to seamlessly lift pucks from the opposition and then his offensive ability kicks in. He’s a great transition player already and is tailor-made for the way the game is changing in the NHL.
Soderstrom has already produced in big minutes in Sweden’s top pro league and he looks like another in a long line of Swedish defenders to come across the pond and chew up big minutes in the NHL.
If Soderstrom made it to 16, he’d be a great fit. Right-handed and with a good two-way game, it’s tough to complain about the Avs potentially getting what might be the second-best defenseman in this year’s draft. What would come next for Soderstrom is a little murkier but he’d be eligible to play in the AHL right away if Colorado wanted.
I’d be more apt to letting him spend a year in Sweden and then bring him over to North America after that and see where he fits but Colorado’s depth on defense and the proximity of Meloche and Timmins to the NHL means the Avs could afford patience. I expect him to be gone by 16 but should he fall, there are no real downsides to Colorado selecting him.
Ranked #17 by TSN/McKenzie
Ranked #3 by NHL Central Scouting (EU Skaters)
Ranked #11 by Future Considerations