The Vancouver Canucks Could Go Back to the SHL at the 2019 Draft

The Canucks have been known to occasionally fall in draft lotteries, this team is statistically most likely to finish in the 23rd or 24th place in the NHL standings. That would result in them going into the draft lottery with the eighth or ninth best odds at winning the lottery and jumping into the top three.

Before I dive into “my guy” for the Canucks if they pick 8-10th ill give you who I think shakes down in the first eight picks, not exactly in this order but something close to it.

-Jack Hughes
-Kaapo Kakko
-Dylan Cozens
-Bowen Byram
-Kirby Dach
-Vasili Podkolzin
-Alex Turcotte
-Matthew Boldy

With only one defenceman going in my projected top eight, it gives me a reason to believe that there will be some strong options for the Canucks to draft. Whether you agree or disagree with my top eight, there will be plenty of articles on this site and others to come on the previously mentioned prospects, we will get to them.

I wanted to look at the player that I have been keeping a close eye on and watching consistently over the past couple months.

Victor Söderström

Söderström, my guy.

Söderström has been my guy since the first game I watched of him, the first thing that caught my eye was how much he was moving his head, constantly looking around, surveying where his teammates and opponents are on the ice. He is able to pinch at the right time at even strength and rotates well on the powerplay to find open space for himself.

Söderström is solid defensively in his own zone as well, he’s a right-hand shot defenceman who is probably a few years away from being in the NHL but his standout strength is his mental game, he thinks the game with the “one extra pass” mentality that we have recently seen from Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes.

That’s what brings me to the most interesting thing about Söderström, the ability to be Quinn Hughes’ future partner. Söderström can skate very fluidly but as I mentioned before his ability to rotate on the ice is tremendous, he rarely finds himself out of place and has a knack for knowing when to jump in on an odd-man rush.

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Söderström seems to move the puck up ice similar to the way Hughes does, with some incredible patience and poise while also having the option to get the puck deep on his own stick if the defenders will give him enough space.

Söderström exhibited some creative offensive ability when Brynäs IF included him on the power play, showing that his cross-ice passes were accurate, firm and right on the tape. This is especially difficult in the SHL level, as he was playing against men and let’s not forget about the ice size difference in the SHL compared to a Major Junior league in Canada.

Söderström does take some soft penalties, plenty of them for tripping when the players are just escaping from him, that is likely to do with having an overly-aggressive stick, he could probably be cleaned up with some coaching when he jumps over to the North American game. Söderström finished the regular season with 22 penalty minutes in 44 games. 

He is also able to throw his 5″11′, 180-pound body around.

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Obviously the stats don’t pop off the page for Söderström, he had four goals and three assists in 44 games, but as a 17-year-old for most of the season, he was able to show that his future is extremely bright and there is good reason for some to believe that he could be a top 10 pick in the 2019 NHL entry draft.

Not everyone is sold on Söderström, some scouts have him outside of their top 20 and Craig Button of TSN has Söderström ranked as his fifth best defenceman in the draft.

If the Canucks are looking to add another puck-moving defencemen to their group they should look no further than Söderström, his ability to perform a quick deke while on the point to open up a shooting lane is elite when he is playing with his age group, making defenders look silly while quickly stick handling his way into the slot. His shot is above average in my opinion, he loves the one-time slapshot from the left side of the ice or on the top of the umbrella on the powerplay, which would be a nice little addition to Pettersson’s bomb from the right side.

It should be added that Söderström is likely one or two years away from jumping into the North American game, but when he arrives I’d expect his raw talent to be groomed nicely for his debut on this side of the pond.

Quick hands, good shot, solid defensively and smart as can be.

Söderström has a ton of talent and if the Canucks are stuck at ninth or tenth in the draft I would be keen on them picking up this right-hand shot defenceman as the next piece of the puzzle when building this Canucks team. The problem is that you want to draft the best player available and with some of the American forwards likely still available on the board at ninth or tenth it’s a tough call because I love guys like Trevor Zegras, Matthew Boldy and Cole Caulfield.

The Canucks should still draft for best player available, in my opinion, that’s what you should be doing with your first round pick every single year, but with the Canucks history of drafting Swedish players it makes me wonder if they have already seen enough of Söderström to believe that he is the right option at the time. This group still clearly needs some skilled wingers to add to their crop of prospects but another lacking area is right-hand shot defencemen.

The RHD is probably the position that is most difficult to find in free agency or via trade but at what point do you want to “reach” for a guy like Söderström? If you have Peyton Krebs, Cole Caufield and Victor Söderström sitting there at number 10 I don’t know if it’s too crazy to think that the Canucks would go for Söderström.

With the Anaheim Ducks and New York Rangers ahead of them in the current draft lottery rankings, it makes it hard to believe that those two teams will reach out of the projected top 10 unless they are interested in the electric but risky Arthur Kaliyev.

Makes you wonder.

Could we see the Canucks go back down the Swedish trail for another player or continue with their success out of the recent Americans. All I know is that Söderström would not be a mistake by anyone if he falls out of the top 12. In addition to all that, he makes the cut on the famous 51% CanucksArmy rule with his 0.16 PPG.

Let’s just keep hoping for a draft lottery win, then the debate is over.

  • Jabs

    You make a pretty good argument. The one thing the scouting reports all say about Soderstrom is that he has a very high compete level. That seems to bode well with GMJB’s Canucks team.

    If this team pucks in the 8-10 range Boldy is my guy if available, otherwise Soderstom is certainly a worthy pick, as is Caufiled. Any of these three and we have something special.

      • Gino über alles

        Zegras is phenomenal, if he wasn’t playing behind Hughes as the 2C then he’d be a top 5 pick. He would be an insane pick to play as Pettersson’s LW, and he’s just as good a defensive player as he is offensive.

        I love the article and Söderström is a solid pick that checks a lot of boxes but there is no way we select him if Zegras is still there. None.

  • Burnabybob

    Soderstrom seems like a reach if they pick 8th or 9th. Canucks badly need goals, too, and Boldy, Newhook or Lavoie could do nicely. They have six picks after the first round, and hopefully they pick at least four defensemen.

  • Cageyvet

    I just don’t know enough about these players to weigh in competently. All I know is that another top RHD prospect is still high on the list, so I wouldn’t be against this if we’re 10th or lower. BPA still has to be the mentality, and it sounds like he’s not cracking the top 10 for most scouts.

  • Doodly Doot

    Nice article Faber! I also really like Söderström in our likely pick range. That said, I can’t help but feel that Broberg might be special, like Pietrangelo-type special. My favourite outside the range is definitely Alex Newhook. And I’d take him over Boldy.

    • Thanks for the comment double d, that’s a hot take with Newhook over Boldy, personally I see Newhook translating to a winger at the NHL level and the real return on investment will show when Newhook is at Boston College next year, he’s got some great teammates from this draft there with him too, funny enough Boldy is one!
      D Cam York
      LW Matthew Boldy
      G Spencer Knight

  • Kootenaydude

    Why would you pick a lower ranked player like Söderström when you could draft a higher ranked player and put a left hand shot to play the right side? Doesn’t make sense. There are many left hand shot defencemen playing on the right hand side.

  • rediiis

    I watch the WHL, but I don’t get a chance to stream the Swedish leagues. I must say I did it last year and every Vaxjo Lakers game. So many solid centers this year. In my mind it would be a center Hughes, Turcotte, Zegras, Cozens, Newhook, Krebs and Dach can play. After those only overager Brett Leason interests me at center. Several good defensemen could be had in the 2d. Eventually a winger will hit big in Vancouver although I don’t see it unless the Canucks hit a lottery top-3 pick. After C/D it is hopefully 3rd round pick like LW Beecher of the usndt, Faranacci of Dexter HS. I guess you could go back after D again and pick either LD Thrun or RD Helleson (both usndt players in round 3 and find a winger in the rough later. I really like Nate Robertson, but his window is outside of what the Canucks have in picks.

  • Ken Priestlay Fan

    Great article and you make a strong argument. However, there doesn’t seem to be a great gulf between that gaggle of mid-1st rnd defensemen and of the Canucks are picking 8-10, why wouldn’t they trade down 5 or 6 places and take Söderstrom there? But are they going to do that when hosting the draft? For what it’s worth, I like Kokkonen in that group of defencemen, though if I had the 8th pick I don’t think I’d take him with one of Zegrass, Boldy, Krebs or Turcotte (or my personal dark horse of the draft, Newhook) on the table

    • I agree. Soderstrom at 8-10 is too much of a stretch. The Hockey Writers has 10 RHD ranked in their top 93 so if we trade down as you suggest, we could try to get more 2nd or 3rd round picks and grab more RHD then. Even if we miss Soderstrom after trading down, we still have a decent shot at another good defenceman like Cam York (offensive LHD who is going to Michigan like Lockwood and Hughes) or Moritz Seider (6’4″ RHD playing in a German men’s league). Both are projected to go mid-to-late 1st round.

  • Killer Marmot

    Soderstrom is indeed an inviting pick. Sadly, he might be too far down the rankings for the Canucks to pick him in the first round, and too far up the rankings to be available in the second.

  • Rayman

    the way I see it, this was our last chance to draft high and we blew it by winning all the meaningless late season games.

    It doesn’t matter who we draft, they are all 2 to 4 years away…

    Since, with JB, trade and free agent signing are out of questios, we are still far away from doing any damages.

    Firing JB and Green should be a good start….