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Soderstrom Brings Experience to the Blue Line

Swedish 2019 draft prospect played his first season of pro hockey in 2018-19

by Niki Ardebili / ColoradoAvalanche.com

ColoradoAvalanche.com is profiling draft-eligible prospects leading up to the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver on June 21-22. Defenseman Victor Soderstrom is the No. 3-ranked International skater in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings. The Avalanche has the fourth and 16th overall selections in the first round of the draft.


Unlike many players projected to be taken in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft, Victor Soderstrom spent this past season playing against grown men.

The 5-foot-11, 179-pound defenseman has proven that he is fully capable of holding his own against older competition.

 

During his first year in the Swedish Hockey League, Soderstrom tallied a total of seven points (four goals, three assists) in 44 games and the blueliner could very well be the highest-picked International defenseman at this year's NHL Draft. 

Soderstrom started the 2018-19 season playing for Brynas team in Sweden's under-20 league and he put up eight points (one goal, seven assists) in 14 games. However, he was called up to play in the top league in November and he was able to secure a place with Brynas as he logged an average of 17:06 of ice time per game.

He also played for the under-20 team during the 2017-18 season, a year that he split with both junior teams. He racked up six points (three goals, three assists) in 16 outings at the U-20 level and added 31 points (seven goals, 24 assists) in 32 contests with the under-18 squad.

In addition to his time with Brynas this season, Soderstrom spent time playing for his native Sweden on the international stage. He tallied two points (one goal and one assist) in four contests as his country won the silver medal at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup this past summer.

In April, Sweden hosted the 2019 IIHF Under-18 World Championship and took home their first ever gold medal at the tournament. Soderstrom played in the first four games and recorded one assist before suffering a concussion leading into the playoff round.

Despite his injury, Soderstrom participated in all events at the scouting combine in Buffalo in May, showing NHL teams that he is fully recovered and ready for the year ahead.

"I'm good. It was my first concussion, so the doctors wanted to be a little more safe with it. I'm good. I was good one week after," the right-shot defenseman told NHL.com at the combine.

Gearing up for the upcoming NHL draft, Soderstrom has been ranked by NHL's Central Scouting Rankings at the top of international skating defensemen.

Overall, Soderstrom has shown himself to be a solid rear guard at the highest level of Swedish hockey and has the ability to improve his offensive game over the next few years.

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