The Colorado Avalanche needed a center once they traded Ryan O’Reilly to the Buffalo Sabres. It turns out they got their guy ahead of trading O’Reilly, as the Avalanche acquired Carl Soderberg’s rights from the Boston Bruins just before he could become a free agent.
Soderberg immediately signed a five-year deal with Colorado, and the big man from Malmo, Sweden has seemingly settled in, putting up points on a fairly regular basis for the Avalanche.
Drafted by the St.Louis Blues in 2004, taken in the 2nd round, 49th overall, Soderberg never found a home there, finding it hard to adapt to his new surroundings in North America at such a young age. Soderberg just felt homesick after he was drafted, and it wasn’t long before he was on a flight back to Sweden.
His rights were eventually traded to Boston in 2007, while he was playing for his hometown team, the Malmo Redhawks. He never touched NHL ice until just recently, having played most of his career for Malmo and Linkopings HC in Sweden’s first and second divisions.
There was an issue with the Swedish national team as well, trying to prevent Soderberg from signing with the Bruins, which eventually ended in 2013, when Soderberg finally played his first NHL game for Boston.
NHL Here I Come
It took him a while, with some obstacles to overcome for certain, but Soderberg arrived to the NHL at long last. The big Swede just turned 30 years old, however, he has only been playing in the NHL for three years, this being his fourth. In that time you can see just how talented he is, especially for being legally blind in one eye!
Yes, that’s correct, Soderberg tore his retina in an on ice incident when he was just 20 years old playing in Malmo. It took him a while to adjust of course, which further delayed his move over to the NHL.
“Actually, I don’t see much at all. But that’s the thing you learn after a couple of years, you can live with it. You start to – you can feel if someone is there. You don’t see them, but you can feel someone is coming. Other senses become better. You hear better. I’m pretty sure I can feel a lot better than other guys because I have to.” – Carl Soderberg
In Soderberg’s short time in the NHL, he has played 195 games with the Boston Bruins and Avalanche combined, putting up a very respectable 116 points thus far(22 points in 34 games with Colorado).
He hasn’t had his body banged up from years playing in the NHL as most 30-year-old players do, so you can expect his production to stay at a pretty high level throughout his time in Colorado.
What Soderberg Brings
Every player brings something different to the table, and Soderberg brings a whole lot of positives. The first thing you notice is the big frame, possesses great two-way play, excellent passing ability, and just a calm poise about him whenever on the puck.
Soderberg also catches you off guard when he decides to skate hard, as he’s no slouch in that department. What he brings along with his solid play, is another big body with soft hands that can play center or left-wing. That means more options and more depth for Colorado.
The Avalanche are certainly happy to have Soderberg on board, he’s fitting in quite nicely. Expect him to keep getting more comfortable with his new team, and with that, expect even better play from him moving forward.
Here’s an example of those silky mitts:
Sebastian Noble is currently in his third year with The Hockey Writers covering the Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers. Liverpool, England, and of course Colorado Avalanche & Florida Panthers supporter. You can follow him on Twitter @SebastianHNoble