Two months ago, the name Tim Soderlund probably didn’t mean much to Blackhawks’ fans. He was still largely unknown when the Hawks selected the Swedish center in the fourth round of the 2017 NHL Draft. But then Prospect Camp happened. And then the World Junior Summer Showcase happened. Suddenly, Soderlund isn’t so anonymous.
Birth date: Jan. 23, 1998
Acquired via: Fourth-round pick (No. 112 overall) in 2017
Most recent stop: Skelleftea AIK — Swedish Hockey League
Size: 5’9, 163 pounds
It didn’t take long for those in attendance at the Hawks’ 2017 Prospect Camp to come away with the same conclusion about Soderlund that was referenced in every scouting report I found: he’s fast. Real fast.
Before that camp, though, Soderlund registered on the Hawks’ radar with his performance as part of Team Sweden in the 2017 World Junior Championship. He was a forechecking nightmare on Sweden’s fourth line, using his speed to harass defensemen all tournament long. Those games provided enough evidence for the Hawks’ brass to trade up and select him in the fourth round this June. One month later, he made another big impact at prospect camp.
I'd go as far as to say this camp's Fortin is Tim Soderlund. He won't compete for an #NHL spot this year, but man has he impressed every day— Mario Tirabassi (@Mario_Tirabassi) July 19, 2017
Tim Soderlund has been impressive in individual skill work at #Blackhawks prospect camp. He's listed at 5-9, 163, 4th rd pick in 2017 draft.— Brian Hedger (@BrianHedger) July 19, 2017
The Athletic’s Scott Powers talked with Soderlund’s coach at the World Juniors, among others, in a July article where every source had something positive to say about Soderlund. Representing Team Sweden again at the aforementioned World Junior Summer Showcase a few weeks ago, he provided the game-winner in Sweden’s 6-5 overtime victory over Finland with this missile:
Still time to work on that celebration, though.
The most common NHL comparison for Soderlund is Nashville Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson, another Swedish forward who just scored 31 goals in his first full NHL season. A similarly-undersized forward, Arvidsson possess the skating ability to separate from defenders and the finishing touch to cash in on the scoring chances he creates with his speed. There’s a long way to go before the 19-year-old Soderlund can fulfill that promise, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a fourth-round selection drawing comparisons to a 30-goal scorer just a few months after he becomes a part of the organization.
What’s next in 2017-18?
It’s worth noting again that Soderlund is just 19 years old, so his arrival in the NHL is likely still a few years away. He just completed his first full season with Skelleftea AIK in the Swedish Hockey League, the country’s top league. His playing time was irregular, appearing in only 39 games while scoring three goals and adding four assists. Soderlund will be back with that team for the 2017-18 season and hopes to have a bigger role than he did in 2016-17. But Hawks fans should be able to get a good look at the intriguing prospect during this year’s World Juniors, with Soderlund again expected to suit up for Sweden.