One of the interesting storylines for the Detroit Red Wings this season has been the emergence of Elmer Soderblom, who went directly from the SHL to the NHL and didn’t look out of place. After suffering an injury, though, he has missed the last several weeks, and will now have to face the grind of the AHL to get back on track. After activating him from injured reserve, the Red Wings have loaned Soderblom to the Grand Rapids Griffins to get back into game action.
Standing 6’8″ and towering over most of his opponents, the 21-year-old forward was part of the biggest line in the NHL earlier this year, along with Michael Rasmussen and Oskar Sundqvist. It was an impressive trio to see move around the ice, even if it failed to result in a ton of offensive production. The Swedish rookie scored just two goals in his 13 games before going down and is still looking for his first NHL assist.
Now healthy again, he’ll get his first taste of the AHL and try to replicate the scoring touch he had for Frolunda last year. In 52 games, Soderblom managed to score 21 goals at the SHL level, good enough for seventh in the league. As the rest of the hockey world marvels at a hulking, lanky forward in Buffalo that relies more on skill than physicality and is setting the NHL on fire, Red Wings fans can only dream about the flashes of potential that Soderblom has shown. While he will likely never match the kind of all-world production that Tage Thompson is providing, there should be a lesson of patience to be learned from the Sabres superstar.
Often, very large players take a little while longer to develop, as they figure out how to best utilize their massive frame against NHL opponents. Soderblom is just at the very beginning of his professional journey, and will be back with the Red Wings before long.
Elmer was a 6th round pick and will become a very good NHL player. This is why Red Wing fans trust and love Stevie Y like we do as he is going to build us a Stanley Cup contender around draft picks like this!