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Coyotes sign prized prospect Soderstrom

Arizona secures its first round draft selection with a three-year entry-level deal

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf /

It was only a matter of time until Victor Soderstrom, characterized as a "premium player" by Coyotes President of Hockey Operations and General Manager John Chayka, was signed to his first NHL contract.

It was officially announced Sunday that the 18-year-old defenseman, a "special product" in the eyes of many in the organization, a player considered to have the tools necessary to facilitate a rather brisk path to the NHL level, agreed to a three-year entry-level deal with Arizona.

"It feels amazing, it's really a dream come true," Soderstrom said of signing his first official NHL contract. "You dream of this ever since you start playing hockey as a kid, and now that I'm here, all of those times up until these two weeks since getting drafted and signing, it's really a dream come true."

Soderstrom was selected #11 overall in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft just over two weeks ago after the Coyotes moved up three slots executing on a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers to make sure they secured the Skutskar, Sweden native, a player Chayka stressed he and his staff "weren't leaving without."

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"I got to know John Chayka and [his staff] very well, I talked a lot to them. It's a great staff, which I like," he said of the relationship he's developed with those in the Coyotes' hockey operations department. "Everyone is so kind and friendly, they're very easy to talk to, and it makes me know that I'm very happy to be a part of this organization. I'm looking forward to playing for Arizona."

"Victor is a highly skilled player and an elite prospect," said Chayka. "We are very pleased to get him signed and look forward to having him come to training camp and compete for a spot on our roster."

READ: "We weren't leaving without him"

Not only did Soderstrom get a valuable opportunity to mesh with the Arizona staff during his time at development camp the week after the draft, but with the prospects already in the organization.

"It was important for me to get to know all of the guys, the guys who play for Tucson and the guys who were already drafted, that was a good experience for me," he said. "And then we had the game of course, there were more than 4,000 fans there just to see us, so that was pretty cool, and pretty memorable."

"We worked on a lot of good things that I'll take with me, just small details that are really important in today's game," he added of his on-ice experience at development camp, where he got his first taste of Gila River Arena's facilities.

There were also a number of experiences off of the ice for the first-rounder during camp, which included a plethora of media appearances, but the highlight had to be his Chase Field debut.

"Going to my first baseball game and shooting with my hockey stick, the first pitch, it was a really cool experience, I've never done that before," he said with a chuckle.

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind for Soderstrom, who will return to Arizona in September for rookie camp and main training camp. He'll head back home to Sweden until then, where he'll celebrate, reflect, and begin training for next season.

"I'm looking forward to the Swedish summer with my family and friends," he said. It's going to be fun to go home, but I'm already looking forward to getting back to Arizona again."

"I like to play golf in the summer with my friends," he said of his favorite offseason hobby. "Our house is by the ocean, too, so there are a lot of beaches there, I have my jet ski, so I'll usually go out for a couple of days to hang out with my buddies on the beach with the jet ski, it's a lot of fun."

His hometown of Skutskar, Sweden may be well over 5,000 miles away from Arizona, but he'll be bringing back a few items for friends and family that represent his new, promising professional hockey career ahead.

"Oh yeah," he said with a grin. "I've got a few Coyotes hats and jerseys with me."

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