The Boston Bruins have had their eyes on Carl Soderberg for a while. He has been one of the players the home office has been trying to bring over to the NHL, and has been whispered as one of the key finds for the Black and Gold. Soderberg was selected in the second round (49th overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He has been playing in various teams in the Swedish Elite League, putting up sixty points(thirty one goals) in fifty four appearances with the Linkopings HC this season.
The organization has apparently secured the 27-year-old’s release from the Swedish league. This means we could see Soderberg in the Black and Gold in but a few short days. The bright spot about this is that due to the Bruins owning the rights to Soderberg’s services, (the Bruins acquired him in exchange for goalie Hannu Toivonen in the summer of ’07 and still had him on their reserve list.) he will be eligible to play in the post season. (Which the Bruins should see as long as they avoid a home stretch disaster and keep Bobby Valentine away from the front office.)
Bruins legend and current president Cam Neely expressed his enthusiasm during a radio interview yesterday. ”I think we’d like to try him on the wing first and see if he’s comfortable there. Obviously, playing center at this level is not as easy as it may appear, with coverage down low and both corners. (just ask Tyler Seguin about that.)Understanding that part of the game takes some time. Who knows how quick a study he’ll be.”
“He’s played against men in the Swedish elite league and has had success doing it,” continued Neely. “It’s just a matter of getting adjusted to the North American style — bigger ice surface, less contact [in Europe].(Another problem Tyler Seguin had when he came back over from the EHC Biel in the Swiss League.) But he’s a big body. He protects the puck well. He skates well. He’s got a good shot. But we have to temper this a little bit if he does get over here based on getting adjusted to this style of game.”
He’ll likely end up starting as a left winger. He’s a big player (6’3″ 210lbs), and possess a solid skill set. So, what does this say about the current roster, and when Soderberg arrives, who will feel the bite of the healthy scratch? Would Lucic see another temporary demotion down a line or two as Claude Julien plays mix-master with his line up? Does Jordan Caron have to worry about putting on the ‘P’ sweater again? Your guess is as good as mine, but I can’t see them dropping Daniel Paille, Brad Marchand, or even Shawn Thornton to give Soderberg a slot.
The Bruins are once again only one point behind the Montreal Canadiens with just ten games to go. Soderberg could be a very useful implement for the Bruins going into the post-season, it’s just up to team now to make it happen.