Excelling in spite of Asperger Syndrome and ADHD, Swedish goalie Linus Soderstrom signed an entry-level NHL contract this week with the New York Islanders.
A contract inked by New York Islanders’ puck-stopping prospect Linus Söderström highlighted a smattering of signings this week by NHL teams.
Oh, and by the way, Erik Karlsson signed with a second-tier squad in Sweden. More about that later.
New York Islanders
G Linus Söderström signs three-year, entry-level contract.
In the upper echelon of GM (and former NHL goalie) Garth Snow’s netminder stockpile, Söderström is not even the Isles’ No. 1 prospect between the pipes. That distinction belongs to Russian Ilya Sorokin.
That said, the young 6-4 Swede has some game, and an improving resumé that now includes backstopping HV71 to a Swedish Hockey League (SHL) playoff title by using a 2.11 GAA and .922 save percentage to win 12 of 16 post-season games. That followed a regular season in which the 20-year-old former fourth-round NHL draft pick had a 15-3-4 record based on eye-popping peripherals of 1.34 and .943. Six shutouts equaled a record set by Henrik Lundqvist. Not bad.
Asperger Syndrome and ADHD didn’t prevent him from being named best goaltender of the 2016 world junior championship, although poolies have to factor health issues when they’re considering drafting him (although you could get a bargain if other GMs bypass him). The Islanders already have five goalies signed in North America, so Söderström will almost certainly play in Sweden at least one more campaign unless he’s sensational at the NYIs’ prospect camp and forces them to keep him on this side of the ocean. The way he’s overcome obstacles so far, that unlikely scenario cannot be ruled out.
D Andrei Mironov signs a two-year, entry-level contract.
Overlooked in his first two years of NHL draft eligibility, the 6-foot-2, 196-pounder was claimed by Colorado in 2015’s fourth round in 2015. The Avalanche signed him when Dynamo Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League released him from his contract. The Moscow native compiled just 12 goals and 28 assists in 196 KHL games, although in fairness he was limited to only 18 league games and four points in an injury-shortened KHL swan song. A two-way defenseman who agitates opponents off their game, Mironov might carve out a spot on Colorado’s iffy blueline. Just don’t expect many points.
New Jersey Devils
LW/RW Jesper Bratt signs a three-year, entry-level contract.
D Viktor Loov signs a one-year, two-way contract.
The offense-starved Devils didn’t add much skill with these two signings.
Bratt, New Jersey's 162nd overall choice in the 2016 NHL draft, ended a four-season run with AIK in essentially the second division of Swedish men’s hockey League by scoring six goals and adding 16 assists for a career-high 22 points in 46 games. In fairness, he was an 18-year-old playing against men. At 5-10 and 175, the youngster will have to be awfully speedy and elusive to thrive in even the AHL.
Loov, 24, has 11 goals, 31 assists, 42 points and 133 PIMS as well as a plus-24 rating in 180 AHL games. After 41 games with the Toronto Marlies, he was dealt to New Jersey from the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Sergey Kalinin in February. A solid two-way defender with good size and a reputation for hitting hard, Loov is unlikely to boost New Jersey’s anemic offense, although he could help you in pools with generous peripheral categories.
San Jose Sharks
C/RW Manuel Wiederer signs a standard, entry-level contract.
While he has a most unhockey-like name, the German native is described by San Jose GM Doug Wilson as someone who "mixes a defensively responsible two-way game with speed and offensive creativity." The 20-year-old split time with Moncton and Rouyn-Noranda in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, posting 53 points in his second QMJHL season. He caught the attention of the Sharks with four goals and six assists in 12 playoff games. The 6-0, 170-pounder was taken 150th overall in the 2016 NHL draft.
C Emil Pettersson signs a two-year, entry-level contract.
The 23-year-old’s appeal rose after he finished ninth in SHL points while skating for Skelleftea and Vaxjo. After four campaigns in Sweden’s senior leagues, the 6-2, 164-pounder is expected to play for the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals next season. Nashville drafted him 155th overall in 2013.
New York Rangers
LW Dawson Leedahl signs a three-year entry-level contract.
Dawson Leedahl likes to throw his body around, and backs it up with his fists.
The undrafted free agent earned a contract with a 35-goal, 89-point breakout in his final season of junior eligibility, good for 13th in WHL scoring. He added a plus-45 rating and 121 PIMs. At 6-2 and 195 pounds, he has pro size, although he will surely begin his pro career in the minors.
D William Lagesson assigned to Djurgardens IF (Sweden).
At 6-3 and 198 pounds, Edmonton’s 91st overall draft pick in 2014 has a projectable frame for the pro game. After 15 points in 63 NCAA games in two seasons with UMass-Amherst, it’s not clear he has much offense in his game. The Oilers will watch him from afar while he percolates in Sweden.
LW Erik Karlsson signs with Timra IK of the HockeyAllsvenskan (Swe2).
Not to be confused with Ottawa’s superstar blueliner Erik Sven Gunnar Karlsson, this forward (who also plays center) left the Hurricanes after two lackluster seasons with the Charlotte Checkers. Karlsson combined for a meager three goals and 13 assists in 91 AHL games. Drafted 99th overall by Carolina in 2012, he never made much of a dent in North America. His name and their shared Swedish heritage are the only things he has in common with his much more celebrated countryman.