The Swedish Hockey League (SHL) playoffs are underway, where Detroit Red Wings prospects are making themselves known. Three of them play for Frölunda HC – the fourth seed in the SHL playoffs. Frölunda HC had a bye for the first round and took on the Växjö Lakers in the quarterfinals in a 4-0 sweep of the seven-game series to qualify for the semifinals.
Simon Edvinsson, Theodor Niederbach, and Elmer Söderblom are all racking up points in the playoffs. Here’s a look at their performances to date.
Edvinsson is a 6-foot-5 defenseman drafted by the Red Wings sixth overall in the 2021 NHL Draft. At just 19 years old, he has played two partial seasons for Frölunda and is now Detroit’s top defensive prospect. Throughout the 2021-22 season, he appeared in 44 games with 19 points (2 goals, 17 assists). Although he might not be a standout in the goals column, he leads the team in plus/minus with a plus-13 rating.
In the playoffs, Edvinsson has two assists in three games and is a plus-4. He did not play in the fourth game of the series, likely for precautionary reasons ahead of the semifinals. While playing on the top defensive pairing alongside Folin, Edvinsson has shown off his two-way game, smooth-skating, offensive playmaking, and tactical defense.
In the second game of the quarterfinals, Edvinsson assisted on the game-winning goal scored by Nicklas Lasu. Just five minutes into the second overtime, Edvinsson received the puck in the slot from Radan Lenc and immediately saw Lasu open behind the Växjö defense. He quickly turned from his defenseman and slid the puck to Lasu, who found the back of the net for the victory.
Selected in the second round of the 2020 NHL Draft, Theodor Niederbach is a 20-year-old center or right-winger who caught Detroit’s eye. He has played two seasons with Frölunda (20 games in the 2020-21 season and 51 in the 2021-22 season) and has had a solid season. With nine goals and seven assists, Niederbach ranks 10th in points and fifth in goals on the roster this season.
He has appeared in all four playoff games for Frölunda, with two assists, both scored in game three on April 5. He does not see a lot of ice time (averaging roughly 12 minutes per playoff game) and is typically on the third line.
His most notable moment was his assist on the overtime winner in game three. He received the puck from Rosseli Olsen, who Niederbach swiftly one-touch passed it back, which gave him a shooting lane. Olsen took the shot, which hit Stefan Elliot in the back of the leg, but he played the rebound and flicked it in to win the game.
Big in stature and on the stat sheets, Söderblom is taking the league by storm this season. Drafted by the Red Wings 159th overall (sixth round) of the 2019 NHL Draft, one would think he would not even be a consideration, but he is proving people wrong. Standing a whopping 6-foot-8 at 20 years old, he leads Frölunda in goals (21) and is third in points (33) in his third season with the club.
At a point-per-game pace in the playoffs, with two goals and two assists, Söderblom is tearing it up. Both of his assists came in the first game off goals by Patrik Carlsson. Despite his size, he moves easily, taking the puck to the net and landing hits. He is averaging roughly 22 minutes of ice time and has a plus-5 rating in addition to his four points, eight shots on goal, and two hits.
His second goal of the playoffs came in the fourth and final game of the quarterfinals, assisted by Ryan Lasch. A pass from Lasch was blocked by a diving defenseman, leaving it directly in front of Söderblom’s stick. He effortlessly tapped it into the net, leaving the goalie spinning on his back for a 3-1 lead.
Frölunda in the Semifinals
These three young Red Wings prospects have shown up throughout the SHL playoffs. Edvinsson is a big defenseman with a strong two-way game that is helping his team. Neiderbach is doing what he can in the little ice time he sees and provides his team with defensive support and great vision. Söderblom has been using his stature to his advantage to break into the offensive zone and put pucks in the net.
Frölunda is advancing to the semifinals, where they will face the winner of the series between Lulea and Orebro. That series is at 3-1 in favor of Lulea, and the next game is on April 8. As playoffs continue, all eyes will be on these prospects.