Carl Soderberg Acquisition: What it Means for the Colorado Avalanche


By now you’ve heard that the Colorado Avalanche have acquired the rights to forward Carl Soderberg from the Boston Bruins. If you hadn’t heard… well, there it is. The Swede was due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2015.

Soderberg is a big (6’3″ and 216 pounds) center with strong two-way skills. A versatile playmaker, he’s adept at both setting up and finishing plays.

Sound familiar? Two-way center with both playmaking and finishing skills…

Ryan O’Reilly Contract

Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic has stated more than once that his top priority is signing center Ryan O’Reilly to a contract extension — and that he doesn’t want to move into the 2015-16 season without having done so. The implication is clear — the Avs are signing O’Reilly before the season starts, or they’re trading him.

Rumors started a flurry of activity on social media today. Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reported that O’Reilly’s camp was asking for a ridiculous amount of money:

With the maximum contract being eight years, that puts Ryan O’Reilly at $7.5 million a year. That’s $1.5 million more than either captain Gabriel Landeskog or franchise player Matt Duchene makes — goalie Semyon Varlamov, too. Kypreos was right in saying the Avalanche wouldn’t go for that — last season Sakic was adamant about maintaining the “structure” of the team — no one makes more than Duchene. While the Avs might budge a little off that, not $1.5 million.

Now, a tenet of bargaining is to ask for more than you expect in the hopes of settling close to your desired figure. I think the Avalanche would be happy to sign O’Reilly for eight years. I think they would be satisfied with $6 million per year and might go as high as $6.5 million. They may still be aiming for that number. It’s unlikely Ryan O’Reilly’s camp will agree to that, and the general consensus is that O’Reilly could get more on the open market. The majority of the players in his production level make between $5 million to $6.5 million, but as some point out, there’s always a desperate GM willing to overpay. (Can you say Doug Armstrong signing Paul Stastny for $7 million a year?)

Carl Soderberg Acquisition

Suddenly, the Avalanche make a move out of what seems like left field — they acquire a center with skills similar to O’Reilly’s. Soderberg isn’t quite as talented or skilled as Ryan O’Reilly, but he’s good at puck possession — last season his turnover ratio was +6. (O’Reilly’s was +72.) Soderberg earned 44 points to O’Reilly’s 55. However, all of that makes Soderberg a mite cheaper. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun states the Avalanche are very close to signing Carl Soderberg:

According to the Hockey Chat, the Soderberg camp would like $18 to $20 million for four years, while the Avalanche would feel more comfortable with $4 million/season. All of that is far less than they’re likely to have to offer O’Reilly.

It’s true that Soderberg can’t replace O’Reilly player for player. But then, he doesn’t have to. Nathan MacKinnon has been groomed to be the top center in tandem with Matt Duchene for the Avalanche. Even if MacKinnon still isn’t quite ready, Carl Soderberg gives the team the option to keep grooming the heir apparent.

Highlights of Carl Soderberg:

The Avalanche also have a couple young forwards in Joey Hishon and Conner Bleackley who are going to be chomping at the bit to make the team. They may not be top-six out of the gate, but the Avs still have John Mitchell and Jamie McGinn to fill in as needed.

The loss of O’Reilly’s puck possession skills is the biggest blow for the Colorado Avalanche. However, the Avalanche will get a player back in trade — and reports are they want a top defenseman. Maybe this defenseman will be great at puck possession. Or maybe some of the talented forwards already on the team will up their skills in that area.

In short, it looks pretty good that the Colorado Avalanche’s acquisition of Carl Soderberg means a Ryan O’Reilly trade is imminent. Frankly, after all the speculation, it’ll be worth it just to know what actually is going to happen.


The Colorado Avalanche got Soderberg signed right away. General Fanager reports that Colorado signed him to a five-year deal worth $23.75 million with an annual cap hit of $4.75 million. Soderberg’s contract has a No Trade Clause for the 2015-16 season and a modificed NTC for the remaining seasins.

Next: Trade Options for O'Reilly at the Draft

Next: Are the Carolina Hurricanes a Good Fit For O'Reilly?

Next: Has Ryan O'Reilly Played his Last Game as an Av?

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