Elmer Soderblom had been a surprise addition to the Detroit Red Wings, making the team out of training camp.
Soderblom, 21, stands 6-foot-8 but possesses the hands of a 6-footer. The sixth-round pick got off to a great start scoring in the first game of the season and eventually totaling five goals and eight points over 21 games with the Red Wings. As the Detroit Red Wings started to get healthy, Soderblom suffered a minor injury and was assigned to Grand Rapids, where he finished his season once he was ready to return. With the Griffins, Soderblom totaled five goals and eight points over 21 games.
Soderblom will have every opportunity to make the Red Wings again this upcoming season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he finds himself starting with the Griffins as he tries to round out his game. Also, I hope Yzerman adds a couple of established top-nine forwards this summer, and if that is the case, it buys time for a player like Soderblom.
The two players many expect to see in a winged wheel jersey on the first day of the regular season are Simon Edvinsson and Marco Kasper. Detroit’s two top prospects enjoyed a cup of coffee with the Red Wings at the end of this past season. Edvinsson looked the part of a future top-pairing defender.
Edvinsson, 20, appeared poised beyond his years in his nine NHL games. The left-handed defender recorded two goals and two points and eventually played his way onto head coach Derek Lalonde’s second pairing with Ben Chiarot. With the Griffins, Edvinsson scored five goals and 27 points over 52 games in his first taste of hockey in North America. Edvinsson should see significant ice time next season in Detroit following his stable season with the Griffins this past year.
Marco Kasper, 19, had a stellar season with Rogle BK Angelholm recording eight goals and 23 points before joining the Detroit Red Wings for one game. Kasper made his NHL debut in Toronto and performed well, playing as the team’s second-line center between Andrew Copp and Lucas Raymond. As it turns out, Kasper was playing with a lower-body injury. Kasper is expected to be ready for training camp and will likely make an immediate impact as Detroit’s second-line center unless Yzerman makes a splash this summer, pushing Kasper to the third-line role.