from Bob Duff of Detroit Hockey Now,
Detroit Red Wings prospect Elmer Soderblom has always been big. Since arriving to play for the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins, he’s also been playing big.
The metamorphosis in Soderblom’s game is quite noticeable to those seeing him on a regular basis in both the NHL and AHL.
“He’s starting to play with a lot of confidence,” said Grand Rapids goalie Alex Nedeljkovic. Like Soderblom, Nedeljkovic began the season with the Red Wings, watching the 6-foot-8, 246-pound Soderblom making his NHL debut.
“He’s a big body, especially down here, but even up top there he was playing with some confidence. You can see it, he’s trying to make plays and he’s playing with a little bit of an edge, too. He’s trying to be a little physical at times, which is great.”
With his unique physical tools, Soderblom is imposing. When he’s adding a mean streak to his massive frame, well then he becomes downright intimidating.
“He’s a big boy,” Griffins coach Ben Simon said. “He’s a large man. Playing consistently with the tenacity that he’s capable of obviously will help him.”
For his part, Soderblom believes that adding a physical element to his overall high-end skillset can only make him more of a threat on the ice.
“Yeah, of course,” Soderblom said. “I want to play my best game, use my size and my skills also. I’m trying to use both.”
from Max Bultman of The Athletic,
As speculation swirls about Jakub Vrana’s future with the Red Wings after Detroit waived the forward last month, even the 26-year-old winger doesn’t know what the organization is thinking regarding his future with the NHL team.
“That’s the thing, I don’t think I know anything,” Vrana told The Athletic. “I don’t have any source — I (am not) even looking for those, because it’s pointless. I mean, nobody knows anything. People can speculate each day, and people are doing that, and that’s just how it is. But at the end of the day, there’s only a few people that are running these things, and they make those decisions. And you can speculate all day long, but then at the end of the day, you’re not making those (decisions).”
Vrana was waived in early January following his return from the NHL and NHLPA’s player assistance program and is currently playing for Detroit’s AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids. He has recently begun to heat up following a quiet start there — entering the weekend, he had four goals in his last four games and six in his last seven.
That Vrana has found his scoring touch should come as no surprise — while he has played limited games for the team since being acquired at the 2021 trade deadline, he has lived up to his reputation as a dangerous goal scorer when in the lineup. He has 22 goals in 39 games in that span. The fact he has only played 39 games for Detroit is mainly a result of his shoulder surgery last season — which cost him all but 26 games — and his time in the player assistance program, which he entered after two games this season.
Am I supposed to believe Yzerman didn't have anything to say to Vrana when he was waived and later cleared waivers? I would hope there would be some communication as to what Vrana should be looking to do to earn his trip back to the NHL.
I have a feeling this is much more than "show us you have the skills to stay in the NHL". Perhaps Vrana saying he doesn't know is part of the problem. He SHOULD know.
I wish Vrana the best and somehow hope the Wings can benefit from what is left of his contract either in Detroit or somewhere else.
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