It was unclear what Carl Soderberg would provide the Boston Bruins with when he made his way over from Sweden the year before last. His offensive talent had always been well documented, but many doubted his ability to adapt to the NHL game.
Prior to joining the club in 2012-2013, Soderberg posted 31 goals and 29 assists in 54 games playing with Linkopings HC in the Swedish Elite League. The big Swede notched just two points in six games that season with Boston, making it hard to evaluate his true potential.
The 28-year-old burst onto the scene this past season as he made great strides toward developing into the strong two-way force the Bruins had hoped for since acquiring him from the St. Louis Blues back in July of 2007.
After making the move from wing to center, he appeared to be more comfortable and his play reflected that. Soderberg tallied 16 goals and 32 assists in 73 games, playing primarily alongside Loui Eriksson down the stretch.
He proved that he’s more than an above average third line center, perhaps worthy of a higher place in the lineup. If it weren’t for David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron slotted ahead of him, Soderberg otherwise would take on a more prominent role.
Aside from his impressive offensive showing, Soderberg exhibited a strong forechecking game and he proved to be reliable face-off man in both ends of the sheet.
Soderberg’s line was arguably the best Boston had in the playoffs, especially against the Canadiens. He and Eriksson seemed to feed off one another in that series, creating numerous net-front chances. Soderberg scored once and assisted on five goals in the postseason.
Peter Chiarelli signed Soderberg through 2014-2015 last April. He’ll be the team’s third line center next season. Another productive season under coach Claude Julien and Soderberg will be primed for a nice pay day. His future on Causeway Street looks promising.
Final Grade: A-