Arizona Coyotes defensive prospect Victor Söderström has, unsurprisingly, been named to Team Sweden’s roster ahead of the World Junior Championships.
The top junior international tournament is set to take place in Edmonton, Alberta and the Swedish right-handed blueliner will play a key role for his country after impressing in last year’s iteration.
Taken with the 11th overall selection in the 2019 NHL Draft, Söderström has grown rapidly and is expected to stake a claim on a roster spot with the Coyotes in training camp this season, especially if NHL teams will carry larger numbers during the expected shortened campaign.
After being drafted out of Brynäs IF of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), Söderström continued his development in his home country and earned a bronze medal at the World Juniors this past January.
He had five goals and 16 total points in 35 regular-season SHL games during the 2019/20 season.
Like many NHL prospects, including fellow Coyotes Barrett Hayton and Jan Jeník, Söderström has been keeping his fitness levels up in Europe, impressing in the second tier of Swedish hockey, playing for AIK of the HockeyAllsvenskan.
In 12 games so far, the 6-foot, 196lbs 19-year-old has six points (one goal, five assists) in just 12 appearances before joining up with Team Sweden earlier this month.
A strong showing at the World Juniors could go a long way to giving the Coyotes organization something to think about when training camp rolls around, with the 2019 draft pick having already impressed the team’s coaching staff in last year’s camp.
If the Skutskär native can impress the team that drafted him, he will at the very least find himself playing regularly with the Tucson Roadrunners in the AHL when the 2020/21 season eventually kicks off, but the bigger prize of playing in the NHL is still very much within reach.
Going up against some of the top young prospects in world hockey will be a great experience for Söderström, who could be in line to earn some leadership responsibilities as one of the older and most talented players on the team this year.
Söderström joins Aku Räty (Finland) and John Farinacci (USA) as the Arizona Coyotes’ representatives in Edmonton, with the tournament expected to get underway on Christmas Day when Russia and the United States clash at Rogers Place.