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Prospects Unlimited: Patience with prospect Soderblom can pay big dividends for Detroit

The Red Wings are still figuring out what they have in the Swedish right winger, but the early returns were promising after Soderblom went to Michigan for development camp in the summer.

If you’re searching for unheralded players with potential, look up Elmer Soderblom. Actually, look way up, because the 2019 sixth-rounder is 6-foot-7 and 225 pounds. “I’ve always been a big kid, always been the biggest guy on the team,” Soderblom said. “I’m used to it.”

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The Red Wings are still figuring out what they have in the Swedish right winger, but the early returns were promising after Soderblom went to Michigan for development camp in the summer. “He’s obviously a very big guy with a lot of raw tools,” said Shawn Horcoff, Detroit’s director of player development. “Long reach, very strong. You put all his testing together from development camp and he was right at the top.”

Horcoff gives credit to Hakan Andersson, the Wings’ European super-scout, for vouching for Soderblom at the draft table. Early in the season, Soderblom was putting up more than a point per game for Frolunda’s junior squad. Detroit has had prospects such as Christoffer Ehn and Gustav Lindstrom go through Frolunda in the past couple seasons, so there’s a comfort level between the two organizations. But since it is still so early in Soderblom’s development, the Wings are going to keep a watchful eye on him. “We’re going to have a lot of views on him this year,” Horcoff said. “And we’re going to give him everything he can handle. He’s a great kid who asks the right questions, and he’s motivated.”

Soderblom has great puck-protection skills and good hands, but skating is an obvious point of emphasis. It’s not bad, but big players always need to improve their footwork. And as fit as Soderblom may be, he believes more time in the gym will help him reach his goal of playing up with Frolunda’s men’s team in the SHL in the near future.

Once the kid gets those muscles, it’s going to be hard to handle him. Soderblom may not be an overnight sensation, but with patience and steady growth he could turn into another late-round monster selection for the Wings. – Ryan Kennedy

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