Linus Soderstrom is committed to playing in North America this season, but he doesn't know if it will be in the AHL with Bridgeport or the ECHL with Worcester. But the main thing for the Islanders’ goalie prospect from Sweden is just to play.
“My only plan is to be healthy,” said Soderstrom, a fourth-round pick in 2014 who missed all of last season and a significant portion of 2017-18 with HV71 of the Swedish Hockey League because of lower-body injuries.
Soderstrom was again on the ice on Wednesday for the second day of sessions at the Islanders’ summer prospect development camp at the Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow. A bigger test will be if Soderstrom is able to play in Thursday night’s open-to-the-public scrimmage.
“It’s been a long and a tough year,” Soderstrom said. “I’ve been home all year rehabbing, just trying to get into a better state with my body because I’ve had a lot of surgeries. It’s always tough to be at home when you have a contract here. I want to be here. I want to play here.”
The Islanders selected Soderstrom with the 95th pick in 2014 and he signed a three-year entry-level deal on May 11, 2017.
But after going 18-4-6 with a 2.11 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage for HV71 that season, he played just 14 games the next season before being sidelined with a lower-body injury.
He then suffered a separate lower-body injury last season while trying to recover.
Soderstrom began skating without equipment in December and started skating with his full goalie equipment in February.
“It’s been tough, an up-and-down roller coaster all the time,” the 22-year-old Soderstrom said. “There’s been some very good weeks and then there have been some very bad setbacks. You can’t take anything for granted.”
Russian Ilya Sorokin, 23, is the organization’s top goalie prospect but will play at least one more season in the KHL. He led CSKA Moscow to the Gagarin Cup in April with a four-game sweep over Avangard Omsk in the final and was named the playoff MVP.
That seemingly would give Soderstrom, if healthy, a window to come to North America and impress the Islanders’ brass.
But Soderstrom does not want to get ahead of himself.
“Something I’ve learned from this year at home is to have perspective on things and not take anything for granted and be humble,” Soderstrom said. “I want to play in the best league in the world and I want to be a difference maker. But I think I have to be a little bit more calm and just focus on getting this to work on the ice consistently, not just a few times every week. It’s got to work every day, every year.”
Notes & Quotes: The scrimmage will be at 6 p.m. at Northwell Health Ice Center but seating and parking at the facility is limited…Forward Robert Carpenter and defenseman Mitch Vande Sompel did not skate.