photo by Bridget Samuels/bridgetds
Soon after becoming the first Norwegian goalie ever to be drafted in the NHL, Steffen Soberg had to face another draft - the CHL Import Draft. Capitals goaltending coach Dave Prior instructed Soberg to go the CHL path to get the best coaching and development possible to turn him into a professional-league goaltender.
It's the path Michal Neuvirth took after coming over from the Czech league, before winning two Calder Cups with the Hershey Bears and moving on to the NHL.
Soberg said that he had some offers from teams in Sweden, but turned them down in favor of doing what the Capitals wanted. "That would be easier for me [to play in Sweden], not moving that far away," Soberg said. "But Dave Prior thinks that [the CHL] is the best place to develop as a goalie. I trust that."
Soberg went sixth overall in the CHL Import Draft to Cody Eakin's former club, the Swift Current Broncos of the WHL. Eakin had been captain of the Broncos before his trade to the Kootenay Ice, and I asked Soberg if he had spoken to Eakin yet about the experience in Swift Current.
"He said I was going to be the first goalie to play a lot of games. [Ed. note: I took that to mean that Eakin told Soberg he'd be the No. 1 goaltender.] They're going to test me there," Soberg said.
When I asked about his U18s tournament, he seemed very proud of his achievements during the tournament. "That's one of my best tournaments ever. I [faced] like, 50 shots every game," he said. "When you get a lot of shots it's more easy to come into the game, and I like that. Everything was working and everything went great. It was a good tournament."
It seems that Soberg thrives under pressure. He likes being tested and likes to be a big part of the game. Even with a weak team in front of him, he's able to perform and not completely shut down. The CHL is a league in which games tend to have a lot of shots and a lot of goals per game, so Soberg should do well in that environment.
I recorded a video of Soberg making saves during a drill. I noticed that he tends to rely on his leg pads a good deal, and his reflexes are good.