Leading up to the Blackhawks’ 2018 development camp, The Rink will profile the Hawks’ top 10 unsigned prospects.
Next on the list at 3rd is left wing Tim Soderlund of Skelleftea.
2017–18 Team: Skelleftea (Sweden)
Date of Birth: January 23, 1998
Place of Birth: Skelleftea, Sweden
Weight: 163 lbs
Acquired: 2017 NHL Entry Draft, 4th round, 112th overall
Tim Soderlund is looking more and more like an outstanding selection for the Blackhawks. Originally passed over in his first-year eligible draft year, the Hawks moved up in the fourth round to pick Soderlund as an over-ager. Since being drafted, all Soderlund has done is make the Blackhawks scouting staff and management look brilliant. He has continued to develop playing in the SHL, looking at home against the high-level men’s competition. Soderlund also starred for Sweden at the 2018 World Junior Championships.
Soderlund is a relentless skater. He possesses high-end top speed, which makes him very difficult to contain. He is light on his feet and can dance in and out of traffic. Soderlund uses his skating to be a constant threat, whether on the rush or once established in the offensive zone. His speed also allows him to be highly effective on the forecheck.
Shooting is probably Soderlund’s best offensive skill. His wrist shot is accurate and has a great release and good power. His snapshot is also very effective, as he can get the shot off in a hurry and surprise goaltenders with how quickly it gets to the net.
While not deemed to be a playmaker, Soderlund has good vision and hands, allowing him to be a good passer. He is patient with the puck and is capable of waiting out defenders for lanes to open up. Soderlund is smart with the puck and makes good choices, especially in the offensive zone, usually leading to high-quality scoring chances.
Soderlund is very responsible defensively and is a go-to player on the penalty kill thanks to his tireless work ethic. His excellent skating allows him to cover a lot of ice and get into shooting and passing lanes.
Overall, Soderlund appears to be a consummate depth forward who can do it all. He has enough offensive ability to be a constant threat in the offensive end, is incredibly reliable defensively and can skate seemingly forever. Soderlund has made big strides in his development over the last few seasons and looks to be a budding two-way player. Soderlund has all the tools needed to be an effective NHL player for a long time.
Implications for the Blackhawks
Soderlund seems like a big win given the Hawks grabbed him in the 4th round. He should be a safe bet to be a third line player for the team for a long time once making his debut. Soderlund brings a solid all-around speed game the Blackhawks are lacking. His addition to the lineup, whenever that may be, will be welcomed.
Soderlund signed a one-year contract with Frolunda, so the soonest he could come to North America would be 2019–20. He would likely benefit from at least one year in Rockford as well to adjust to the North American game and to continue developing physically, as his size is his one big knock. Do not expect to see Soderlund in a Blackhawks sweater until 2020–21.
Soderlund looks like he will become an excellent third line player at the NHL level. His toolbox has everything an ideal third liner would have: speed, sound defensively, contributes offensively, reliable, consistent. While he likely will not be as productive as Viktor Arvidsson, who many compare Soderlund to, he should still be a nice piece to the Blackhawks’ forward group in the future.
What others are saying
“Very speedy skater with excellent work ethic. Söderlund is rather shifty and plays with plenty of intensity. Has a decent scoring touch, but can also be used as a role player with his speed and forechecking skills. A great character and team player.”
— Elite Prospects
“Soderlund was outstanding for team Sweden throughout the WJHC tournament but especially in the final game against Canada. With the world watching, he showed off his tremendous speed time and again, using it as a weapon especially while killing penalties. Soderlund scored Sweden’s only goal of the game while shorthanded, prompting TSN analyst, Ray Ferraro to comment about how it is inevitable that he will play in the NHL for the Blackhawks, even if all he does is kill penalties. Named the Swedish player of the game, Soderlund’s stock is definitely trending upward.”
— Tony Carr/Dobber Prospects