With another season derailed by injuries, New York Islanders goalie prospect Linus Soderstrom is considering returning to Sweden for 2020-21.
For yet another year injuries have put a massive dent in Linus Soderstrom’s season. The New York Islanders fourth-round pick in 2014, played just four games in 2019-20, all for the Worcester Railers in the ECHL. This set back is on the heels of missing the entire 2018-19 season due to injury.
But unlike 2018-19, Soderstrom was healthy enough to play this year. He just never got to see the net. Instead, the Swedish champion spent a ton of time working out and building strength.
Frustrated with his lack of playing time, his agent stated that the goalie may seek options back home in Sweden (and maybe even Finland) for next season.
May Not Be The Right Move
On Sunday, Soderstrom’s agent Christian Sjogren told Kvallsposten stated that he will be looking at “alternatives in Europe” for his client:
"[…]Several all Swedish clubs, and also clubs in Finland, have shown interest.Given the corona times and the NHL has paused, I look at alternatives in Europe. But his goal is still to play in North America and sign with an NHL club, says Christian Sjögren, who points out that no decision has been made."
I feel for the kid. He hasn’t had a chance to showcase his talent’s to the Isles brass on North American soil so far. But he hasn’t been healthy enough to do so.
With that being said, looking at the Islanders goalie situation in 2020-21, he could get his chance to play, if he sticks around.
Outside of established NHL goalies like Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss, the Islanders had four goalies on NHL contracts in 2019-20; Soderstrom, Jakub Skarek, Jared Coreau, and Christopher Gibson. Only Skarek is signed beyond the 2019-20 season. Both Coreau and Gibson are pending UFAs.
Soderstrom’s three years ELC ends in 2019-20. He’s a pending RFA once it expires.
When healthy last season Soderstrom spent most of that time building up his strength rather than playing between the pipes. To me, that seems like a necessary step for a kid who’s missed essentially two full years of hockey due to injury.
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Obviously, things haven’t gone well for him since he crossed the Atlantic, but there’s a good chance that Soderstrom could get a good run of games in 2020-21 if he stays healthy. Whether that’s in the AHL or ECHL.