Victor Soderstrom was an odd choice at 11th overall in Friday’s NHL Draft, he’s a right shot defenseman that was ranked anywhere from the 11th to 27th best prospect according to most scouts. The Coyotes were also not expected to be looking for any defenseman in the first round after selecting nine defenseman over the last two drafts. For the most part they were expected to restock their prospect cupboards with an NHL ready goal scorer. However general manager John Chayka said that was never the case, “We weren't leaving the draft without him, we were going to do whatever it took to get up and get him.” Chayka said.
What kind of player is he? The Athletic asked for an NHL comparison for Soderstrom and the name linked to the newest Coyote was Roman Josi, "He’s another offensive player. He’s not Erik Karlsson. How offensive is he going to be? Who knows? He’s reliable. He’s dependable. He could be top 10 in the draft. He could be the second D off the board. Josi is a pretty good all-around defenseman who has some offense, too."
Soderstrom is seemingly going to find himself at the NHL level sooner rather than later but he does not help solve the Arizona Coyotes biggest weakness, scoring goals. John Chayka is going to have to be very busy in either free agency or the trade market to solve that problem but that doesn't mean the Arizona Coyotes made the wrong call or had a bad draft. They took seven forwards in rounds two through seven to help heal the sting of not taking a 70-plus goal scorer in Cole Caufield when he was still on the board at 11th overall.
Even though Cole Caufield was the player I had my eye on all draft process long i'm still very much a fan of the Soderstrom selection. The more I read up on the 18-year old swede the more I understand the kind of complete defenseman he can be while playing on the power-play, penalty kill & being great in his own zone. Soderstrom is the type of player that any good team needs on their blueline and would make a very nice replacement for puck-mover Alex Goligoski once his contract is up after the 2020-21 season.
Now that the draft is behind us it's time to focus on free agency which begins on July 1. Who should the Coyotes target? Do not expect Chayka to be very active as he has not shown to be very active outside of value players like Michael Grabner last season. It’s more likely that the Coyotes hop on the phone and find a trade partner as they have done in the past with the off-season acquisitions of Alex Galchenyuk, Nik Hjalmarsson, Jason Demers, Alex Goligoski, Derek Stepan & Antti Raanta.