2018-19 Team: Brynäs IF
Date of Birth: February 26, 2001
Place of Birth: Skutskär, Sweden
Ht: 6-foot Wt: 182 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2019 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 3rd (Among EU skaters)
- Future Considerations: 11th
- HockeyProspect.com: 13th
- McKeen’s Hockey: 10th
- ISS: 14th
- The Hockey Writers: 19th
One of the best defenders in the 2019 draft class, Victor Söderström is already playing hockey in the top-level Swedish league, the SHL. Playing beyond his years, Söderström has the tools to become a top-two defender once he gets to the NHL.
Related: NHL Draft Guide | 2019 Edition
In his rookie season with the SHL’s Brynäs IF, Söderström had four goals and seven assists in 44 games. While that may not seem impressive, his totals led the league in points by an under-18 player. He also played in 14 games in the SuperElit, collecting a goal and eight points.
The defenseman was a participant for Team Sweden in the IIHF U18 World Hockey Championship where he was an alternate captain. He had one assist in four games before a concussion took him out of the tournament. It’s possible that missing this valuable time could see him drop a few spots on draft day. But, he played big minutes before his injury, seeing time on both the power play and the penalty kill.
Söderström is one of the best defenseman available in this draft class. He’s a two-way defender that excels at moving the puck up the ice. Many scouts say that he won’t be a game-breaker, but he should be a dependable defenseman in all scenarios which is a great asset to have. He’s also a right-handed shot, which is held in high regard in the NHL with so few available.
No matter where he’s taken in the draft, Söderström looks to be a very safe pick that will immediately strengthen any team’s prospect pool. He creates offence, he’s hard to beat one-on-one and he loves to throw his body around. Any fanbase should be happy with Söderström if their team gets him.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Victor Söderström – NHL Draft Projection
At this point, it’s safe to say that Söderström will be a first-round selection at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. He’s pretty consistently ranked in the high teens, although with the number of defensemen that are available at that range (Philip Broberg, Cam York, Moritz Seider, Ville Heinola, Thomas Harley) he could slide into the twenties.
“A puck-moving and fast-paced blueliner who loves to create offence. Enjoys controlling the pace of play. Quick outlets, sharp edges and nice vision. Could use more power on his shot. Maybe not as high an offensive ceiling as some other blueliners in this group, but has a very high floor.” – Cam Robinson, DobberProspects
“Soderstrom is a great puck mover, showing high-end IQ moving the puck and ice in his veins under pressure. Sometimes he’s a little too calm, letting guys close in on him and trying to be too cute, but typically he’s efficient on zone exits. He’s smooth with the puck, but has very quick hands, and is able to make plays through defenders from a standstill and off the rush. There were several times this season his game popped with a wow-caliber skill play. For a smaller guy, his game could have more speed. His skating looks fine when he winds up and get going, but he lacks explosiveness and doesn’t have a ton of pace in his game. Despite his size, he’s a good defender. He closes gaps very well due to his IQ, using his body and stick to break up pucks, and makes a lot of stops.” – Corey Pronman, The Athletic (From: “Pronman’s 2019 NHL Draft Board: Top 107 prospects” – The Athletic – May 21, 2019).
“Söderström plays a very complete game at a young age. He skates well, he moves the puck well, he sees the ice well. He’s capable of quarterbacking a power play and also of killing penalties. Söderström might not possess game-breaking abilities … but Söderström is a quality prospect that has a very good chance of becoming a quality NHLer. I don’t see elite tools in Söderström, but I see a dependable top-four blueliner for a decade.” – Larry Fisher, The Hockey Writers
- Puck Handling
- Hockey IQ
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Offensive ability
Söderström looks like he’s going to be a solid defender at the NHL level. He could play on a top-pairing one day, at the very least top-four. He will be a player that teams lean on in all scenarios once he gets accustomed to the league.
Risk – 3/5, Reward – 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 7/10, Defence – 8.5/10
Söderström has been a highly-regarded prospect for years now. In 2015-16, he led the U16 Elit (West) in goals (13) and points (26) by a defenseman and won a U16 SM bronze medal. The next season saw him jump to the J18 Allsvenskan (North) where he led defenders again in assists (16) and points (19). In 2017-18, he led the J18 Allsvenskan (South) defenders in assists (13). Finally, this past season saw him win a silver medal at the Hlinka Gretzky Memorial Cup, a gold medal at the IIHF U18 World Hockey Championship and lead the SHL in points from a U18 Junior (7).
Starting out as an Ottawa Senators contributor for The Hockey Writers, Josh is now an editor and at-large contributor, focusing on prospects, the NHL Draft, hockey history, and breaking news stories.