When the Boston Bruins signed Carl Soderberg from the top Swedish hockey league in 2013, the hope was that he would flourish as a top forward in Boston. But Soderberg did not pan out in two full seasons with the Bruins. Although he totaled over 40 points in each of those two seasons, Soderberg was an inconsistent player, and with the Bruins tight on cap space, it was difficult to justify keeping him.
So the Bruins traded Soderberg’s rights to the Colorado Avalanche last June, and he signed a five-year deal with the Avs shortly after. The deal included a full no-trade clause for the first two years, so the Avalanche were betting Soderberg would work out for them. Halfway through his first season in Colorado, Soderberg is proving he is worth the money.
Soderberg ranks third on the team in scoring with 33 points (nine goals, 24 assists) in 48 games. He has been more consistent than he was with Boston, as he has never gone more than four consecutive games without a point for the Avs. The 30-year-old is also meshing well with linemates Gabriel Landeskog and Blake Comeau to give the Avalanche a punch upfront.
“Good signing and good player,” said one Western Conference scout via text message. “Responsible, a playmaker, especially good on the PP, patient with the puck, not the fastest guy but gets there with a good hockey sense. Not too physical but does not shy away, either.”
With the Soderberg line clicking upfront, the Avalanche have risen from a cellar-dweller as of Dec. 1 to a wild-card club as of Jan. 21. The Avs are far from comfortable in that spot, however, as teams such as the Vancouver Canucks and Nashville Predators are hot on their heels.
Colorado’s defense still falls among the bottom 10 in the NHL, so its reliance on a hot offense can easily come back to bite them should the forwards start to slump. But considering Soderberg was a huge question mark when he first signed with Colorado, his steady performance on offense is a clear boost to a club which needs any edge it can get.
Arielle Aronson writes about the NHL for FOX Sports. You can follow her on Twitter @aharonson28.