By Andrew Bell
Photo Credit: Associated Press
With their first round pick on Friday night, the Arizona Coyotes selected 18-year-old Swedish defenseman Victor Soderstrom.
General Manager John Chayka drafted the blue-liner at 11th overall shortly after trading the team’s 14th and 45th overall pick to the Philadelphia Flyers to move up on the draft board.
The selection was the third time in four years that the Coyotes have added to their defense core in the first round. The lone exception was last year when they selected Barrett Hayton.
According to Elite Hockey Prospects, Soderstrom is a steady d-man who has a great hockey IQ and breaks the puck out of the zone well. He is 6-foot, 183 pounds, but still has room to grow at only 18 years of age. He currently plays for Brynas in the SuperElit and Swedish Hockey League (SHL).
Soderstrom is also known as a quick skater once he gets up to speed, and his play in his own defensive zone stood out to many scouts.
One of the main things the Coyotes front office has looked to tackle this offseason is more offensive scoring depth, as they addressed at the end of the 2018-19 season. With the pick of a defenseman, the move might seem puzzling to some fans.
Other notable scoring threats available at 11 were Cole Caufield of the United States National Development Program (USDP) and Peyton Krebs of the Western Hockey League (WHL).
However, teams can never load up on too many sturdy defensemen, and with the Soderstrom pick, it appears Chayka and the Coyotes might explore their best immediate scoring options in free agency.