Colorado Avalanche: Victor Soderstrom a Smooth-Skating, Mobile Defenseman

BUFFALO, NY - MAY 30: Victor Soderstrom poses for a headshot at the NHL Scouting Combine on May 30, 2019 at Harborcenter in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - MAY 30: Victor Soderstrom poses for a headshot at the NHL Scouting Combine on May 30, 2019 at Harborcenter in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Colorado Avalanche have many options for both the #4 and #16 picks in the 2019 NHL Draft. One might be defenseman Victor Soderstrom.

The Colorado Avalanche have got to be preparing their draft lists. The team has two first-round draft picks in the 2019 NHL Draft and, as GM Joe Sakic says, that bounty doesn’t come around all the time.

The team has build a good foundation on their youngsters, both the core and the secondary players. They also have a decent prospect pool. However, the 2019 Draft affords them the opportunity to only get deeper.

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Colorado has the #4 (from Ottawa) and #16 picks in the first round. Here’s the entire list of their picks:

#4 (from Ottawa)
#62 (also from Ottawa)

Although the team is pretty set on defense, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Avalanche select a blueliner within the first four selections.

Enter Victory Soderstrom, the highest-ranked European defenseman and second only to Bowen Byram in the whole draft for d-men.

Victor Soderstrom

2018-19 Team: Brynäs IF (Swedish Hockey League)
Date of Birth: Feb 26, 2001 (18 years old)
Height: 5’11″
Weight: 179 lbs.
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Right

Ranked #13 by ISS HOCKEY
Ranked #10 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #3 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (EU Skaters)
Ranked #17 by TSN/McKenzie

As you can see, Victor Soderstrom is projected to go significantly lower than the fourth-overall and a bit higher than the #16. He’s known as a smooth-skating, mobile defenseman.

Indeed, Curtis Joe of Elite Prospects call him an “uber competitive” defenseman who “thinks the game at the highest level.” He continues:

"“A naturally gifted skater, his ability to traverse all three zones is best described as smooth and effortless…His vision and awareness is outstanding, allowing him to play a responsible yet dynamic brand of hockey. He’s a dangerous puck-carrier with a great shot.”"

Joe also likes what he sees in  Soderstrom’s defense, stating the prospect “makes good decisions quickly and consistently.”

In fact, Steve Kournianos of the Draft Analyst also observes that Soderstrom “ticks to the belief that defending and coverage are equally as important as rushing and distrubuting the puck.” That said, Kournianos is high on Victor’s offensive talents, too:

"“Soderstrom is a hard shooter with a whip-like release for his wrister, which is tough to handle and causes rebounds, especially during the power play.”"

For Ben Kerr of Last Word on Hockey, Victor Soderstrom’s gifts start with his skating:

"“Soderstrom is an elite skater which allows him to play an effective two-way game. His speed is exceptional, in both directions. He gets up to speed quickly, with excellent acceleration and a great first step. He also has very good edgework and agility, allowing him to quickly change directions.”"

However, Kerr is appreciative of his other skills, too, remarking that Soderstrom has “good vision and passing skills” and a “quick release” wrist shot. What’s more, as with the other scouts, Kerr sees value in Victor’s defensive game, remarking especially on his positioning and “quick stick.”

Victor Sodertrom in action:

Victor Soderstrom and the Colorado Avalanche

Though the Colorado Avalanche have a propensity for drafting off the board, Victor Soderstrom shouldn’t be their fourth-overall selection. There are better candidates at that selection, hopefully including the top-rated defenseman in this draft, Byram.

That said, if Colorado picks a forward at #4, and Soderstrom is still available at #16, he’s be a good add for the Avalanche’s depth pool. Victor has some good upside and has a style that complements Colorado’s.

Victor Soderstrom is expected to play for his Swedish team again, perhaps this time transitioning to the men’s team.

Next. Looking at a Kevin Hayes Acquisition. dark

The 2019 NHL Draft takes place in Vancouver on June 21-22. The time for the first round hasn’t been announced, but I’m expected last year’s start time of 5:30 pm MT.