The Detroit Red Wings were able to get ink on paper with forward Elmer Söderblom, bringing him in for his entry-level contract after taking a flier on him. He was a late-round pick, being grabbed by the Red Wings in the sixth round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
Since then, he has started to turn some heads for the Detroit Red Wings fanbase, who has fallen in love with the 6-foot-8 Swedish forward. He's a big-bodied forward who puts it to use, not being afraid to get dirty in the board battles but also not being afraid to camp out in front of the net and cause trouble.
While he's not always being someone who's throwing the body around, sometimes a simple check does the job when he's 6-foot-8 gliding around on the ice. Contrary to most big skaters like that, Söderblom is known for his ability to stickhandle and get creative with the puck in the offensive zone.
He's scored several highlight-reel goals during his time with Frölunda HC and the Swedish National team as well. Söderblom camps out in front of the net, waits for the puck, and produces goals or at least high-danger scoring chances.
Detroit Red Wings add to net-front presence with the addition of Elmer Söderblom.
The Detroit Red Wings have seen Elmer Söderblom grow up plenty overseas. He's gone from a late-round pick that they took a flier on; to someone who could reasonably serve a purpose on this Red Wings team. While it will take some time down in Grand Rapids, Söderblom could very well be a difference-maker for the Red Wings lineup down the line.
For those who have been watching the Stanley Cup playoffs, they have seen players like Zach Hyman getting the job done for the Edmonton Oilers, being in the right place at the right time near the front of the net, and converting. Chris Kreider is another name that comes to mind for getting the job done in front of the net.
While Kreider is not a net-front guy for the Rangers only and Hyman is not 6-foot-8 like Söderblom, that's where the Detroit Red Wings got lucky. They have a player who's good with his stick and excels in front of the net, and has a serious size advantage with his stature.
Slapping him in the bottom-six and possibly on a power-play telling him that his job is to create scoring chances and get the job done in front of the net could be his niche. Söderblom has a ways to go before he makes the jump to the NHL level, but after some seasoning with the Griffins, he might just find himself in the Red Wings' bottom six.
After all, Söderblom is coming off a career-best season in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), where he picked up 21 goals and 12 assists for 33 total points over 52 games played for Frölunda HC.
Michael Rasmussen is one of the players the Red Wings could see do this until Söderblom breaks through. He's someone who's bigger like Söderblom, but Rasmussen has not entirely embraced the net-front role. He started to settle into it at the end of the 2021-22 season, but time will tell if he will stick in a role like this.
Söderblom's signing is a sign of faith that he can do something, or at least that he's worth giving a chance. There's something to be said about Söderblom and what he can bring to the table. Time will tell, but the upside certainly is intriguing and something to watch as Detroit Red Wings training camp heats up later in the summer.