With the NHL Entry Draft rapidly approaching, SB Nation is again doing their mock draft where we attempt to predict who teams will pick. Because General Manager John Chayka has a history of getting creative at the draft that is a bit harder to do for us here at Five For Howling
Thanks to a turn around season the Arizona Coyotes a middle pick. The Arizona Coyotes have drafted outside of the first ten largely from acquiring other teams’ picks, but they haven’t had been in the bottom ten since the 2014 draft when they selected Brendan Perlini. Arizona hasn’t drafted fourteenth overall since 1998 when the team selected Patrick DesRochers.
This year with the fourteenth overall pick the Arizona Coyotes will be selecting Victor Soderstrom from Brynas IF in the SHL.
Date of Birth: February 26, 2001
Place of Birth: Skutskar, Sweden
Height: 5’ 11”
In the past the Arizona Coyotes have drafted position rather then selecting the best player and it has come back to bite them on more then a few cases. This time the Coyotes are going to be switching it up and selecting the best player available in the mock draft rather then trying to fill a need.
The Coyotes need for a defenceman isn’t the most pressing as of right now but any pick in this range is likely going to take some time to develop. By time Soderstrom is ready the team may be without key blue liners Niklas Hjalmarsson and Alex Goligoski, and having another play in the pipeline could prove to be invaluable.
A good sign that Stroderstrom is going to be able to develop into a solid NHL defenseman is the league he currently plays in. The fact that he has found success in an adult league like the SHL at 5’ 11” should mean he won’t have too many issues transitioning to the NHL when the time comes.
Soderstrom is a puck moving defenseman that can play a two-way game while winning battles, is a great skater, and has excellent positioning. In 44 games with Brynas he has 4 goals and 3 assists and has been getting decent minutes. He has a few twenty-plus minute games and has been averaging over seventeen minutes per game. He gets played on the power play and penalty kill, impressive for a seventeen-year-old.
Curtis Joe from Elite Prospects notes he competitive nature and desire to win, two things that the Coyotes can definitely benefit from in the future.
An uber competitive two-way defenceman that thinks the game at the highest level, Victor Söderström is the complete package. A naturally gifted skater, his ability to traverse all three zones is best described as smooth and effortless. He never looks disinterested and it’s always apparent just how badly he wants to win
In his article with the Vancouver Courier Daniel Wagner praises the defensive prowess of Soderstrom.
That mature defensive game sets him apart from a lot of the other defencemen in the draft and has some suggesting he’s the second best defenceman available, with Bowen Byram the consensus top defenceman.
Why not Soderstrom?
Soderstrom’s size may scare some people away, but he is already finding success in an adult league so it shouldn’t be too much of a concern. Granted the SHL isn’t the NHL, especially with more time to develop he seems like he can make a successful transition to the NHL.
One key area that seems to be a potential downside for the Coyotes is that Soderstrom isn’t going to help with the offense which has struggled as of late. While his passing and positioning earns praise he likely won’t be generating a lot of offense with the team. But again this time instead of drafting to fill a need, we think the Coyotes would be better served by drafting
Another real concern is that he was recently injured at the World Junior Championship, sustaining a concussion in a game against Russia. Hopefully it won’t have any long term issues, but concussions can definitely end a career.
SB Nation Mock Draft
- Jack Hughes — New Jersey Devils
- Kappo Kaako — New York Rangers
- Alex Turcotte — Chicago Blackhawks
- Kirby Dach — Colorado Avalanche
- Dyland Cozens — Los Angeles Kings
- Bowen Byram — Detroit Red Wings
- Cole Caufield — Buffalo Sabres
- Peyton Krebs — Edmonton Oilers
- Trevor Zegras — Anaheim Ducks
- Matthew Boldy — Vancouver Canucks
- Alex Newhook — Philadelphia Flyers
- Vasili Podkolzin - Minnesota Wild
- Philip Broberg - Florida Panthers