Linus Soderstrom’s first season in North America didn’t go particularly well and the Islanders prospect won’t be sticking around for a second one. Instead, he is heading to Finland as Assat Pori of the SM-liiga announced that they’ve signed the goaltender to a one-year contract.
It was only a few years ago that the 23-year-old looked like an up-and-coming prospect. He posted a stellar 1.34 GAA and .943 SV% in 22 SHL games back in 2016-17 which helped him earn his entry-level contract with New York. Unfortunately, injuries limited him to 14 games in 2017-18 while on loan back to Sweden and wiped out his season entirely in 2018-19.
Soderstrom stayed healthy this season but was a victim of a numbers game as the Islanders had six goalies under contract in the pros. As a result, he was frequently relegated to backup status at the ECHL level and accordingly, he only got into four games and struggled to a 4.49 GAA with a .870 SV%.
While there could have been a path to more playing time next season with their top two AHL netminders (Christopher Gibson and Jared Coreau) both unrestricted free agents, the delayed start to next season at the lower levels in North America makes sense as he’ll have more of a guaranteed path to playing time. Considering how little he has played over the last three years, simply getting some game action to try to get his development back on track is a wise move.
New York can retain Soderstrom’s NHL rights with a qualifying offer this summer and considering he has already signed, there is little risk in doing so even though things certainly haven’t gone well the last few years.