In their first two years in the NHL, the Vegas Golden Knights have qualified for the playoffs both times and were one questionable call away from moving on to the second-round this season.
Vegas set themselves up nicely in their first draft, selecting three times in the first-round and twice in the second-round. However, their prospect pool has quickly been depleted, trading Nick Suzuki to the Montreal Canadiens for Max Pacioretty and Erik Brannstrom to the Ottawa Senators for Mark Stone.
That leaves the Golden Knights with just two high-end prospects and a handful of mediocre prospects. Cody Glass (No.6 overall in 2017) got hurt in Portland (WHL) this season limiting him to 38 games, but he was still second on the team with 69 points (15G / 54A). Upon turning pro, Glass have five points in six regular season games and was tied for the team-lead with 15 points (7G / 8A) in 22 playoff games. Glass could be in the NHL as soon as next year but the Golden Knights’ deep roster could keep him in the AHL for the time being. Nic Hague (No.34 Pick in 2017) is a mammoth defenseman (6-foot-6, 215 lbs.) with excellent abilities in his own-zone and solid offensive upside. In his first full professional season Hague scored 13 goals with 19 assists (32 points) in 75 games with Chicago (AHL).
With the No.17 Overall Pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, the Vegas Golden Knights select…
Victor Soderstrom — LW — United States 🇺🇸
The aforementioned Hague is so talented that it allowed the Golden Knights to trade Brannstrom without worry, but now they need to add another high-end defenseman to the prospect pool.
Soderstrom is not overly big (6-foot, 183 lbs.) but does not shy away from playing physically. Soderstrom is rock-solid in his own end, using his high hockey IQ and silky smooth skating ability to shutdown his opponents. Soderstrom is a right-shot defenseman who spent most of the 2018-19 campaign in the top league in Sweden. As an 18-year-old, Soderstrom scored four goals with three assists (seven points) in 44 games with Brynäs IF. While representing Sweden at the U18 World Juniors, Soderstrom recorded one assist in four games.
The Swede is a low-risk draft pick, who easily projects as a second-pair defenseman with first-pair upside. The Golden Knights need to restock the shelves and Soderstrom gives them a prospect who isn’t too far from joining their blueline. Vegas is in win-now mode and Soderstrom is the perfect pick for a team in that position.
Graceful two-way defenseman who sticks to the belief that defending and coverage are equally as important as rushing and distributing the puck. Soderstrom is an excellent puck handler with soft hands and a quick-strike mentality — he always looks for a home-run option and can make accurate stretch passes immediately upon retrieval. He also skates the puck out with speed and confidence, and he creates end-to-end rushes that can place him deep into opposing territory. What separates Soderstrom from almost all draft prospects is that he can read plays extremely well, and he uses his quickness and elite backskating to limit the amount of times he gets trapped. — Steve Kournianos (The Draft Analyst)
Top-notched skating ability is the basis for a solid two-way game. Played big minutes in 44 SHL games this season. — Sam Cosentino (Sportsnet)
- #13 — HockeyProspect.com
- #11 — Future Considerations
- #14 — ISS Hockey
- #3 — NHL Central Scouting (EU Skaters)