Carl Soderberg: Get to Know the Avalanche’s New Center


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The Colorado Avalanche traded a sixth-round pick in the 2016 NHL draft to the Boston Bruins for the rights to negotiate with center Carl Soderberg ahead of his pending free agency. The Avalanche signed Soderberg to a five-year contract worth $23,750,000 with an annual cap hit of $4,750,000. Avalanche GM Joe Sakic stated this move was a precursor to the trade that moved Ryan O’Reilly out of Colorado.

Carl Soderberg has been called the poor man’s Ryan O’Reilly, which is kind of true but also somewhat unfair. Granted O’Reilly ended up getting his $7.5 million per year contract out of the Buffalo Sabres — a number the Avalanche were never going to match. However, Soderberg wasn’t even part of the trade, and he’s not meant to be a straight-up replacement of O’Reilly.

We’ll talk more about Soderberg’s long-term role with the team in a later post. For now, let’s see what the Avs got in new acquisition Carl Soderberg.

Carl Soderberg Statistics

Former team: Boston Bruins
Shoots: Right
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 216 pounds
Age: 29

Center Carl Soderberg earned 13 goals and 31 assists last season with the Boston Bruins. Eight of those goals came on even strength and five on the power play. Of his 31 assists, a whopping 90% — or 28 — came during even strength.

Soderberg averaged just under 17 minutes of ice time per game. That put him in a similar position time-wise to Avalanche center John Mitchell. He made his time count with shots on goal, though, recording 163 total, or 2.0 per game. That’s very near O’Reilly numbers and good for a team like the Avalanche that needs to shoot more.

Soderberg is decent with puck possession. His turnover plus-minus ratio was +6 last season. He also doesn’t mind using his big body to deliver the hits. He could use to improve his faceoffs, though.

Carl Soderberg’s statistics from Sporting Charts:

Colorado Avalanche center Carl Soderberg’s statistics from the 2014-15 year with the Boston Bruins. Photo from Sporting Charts

Carl Soderberg’s Playing Style

Carl Soderberg’s got game. He’s an explosive skater who propels himself down the ice with speed. He may not be as fast as Matt Duchene or Nathan MacKinnon, but he’ll leave a lot of players in his dust. He’s agile, too, especially for such a beefy guy. Essentially, he’ll go around you or he’ll go through you.

Here’s a nice breakaway that culminated in his scoring on New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist:

Soderberg can both set up and score goals. He’s got soft hands that allow him to comfortably control the puck. He’s got a great nose for the game, and he’s not afraid to park himself in the tough areas, such as the slot.

Here’s Soderberg scoring a rebound goal on the Detroit Red Wings, of which we highly approve:

Because of his two-way ability, Soderberg is good even when his team is short-handed.

As soon as we start talking about two-way ability and puck possession, the inevitable comparisons are going to come up with Ryan O’Reilly. Carl Soderberg is his own player, and he’s going to have his own role on the team. He’s got skill, and he’s got experience. GM Joe Sakic has talked about putting Soderberg on a line with captain Gabriel Landeskog and forward Nathan MacKinnon. That’s a power forward and a speedy scoring center — it sounds like Avs management have some specific ideas for Carl Soderberg.

However, as I mentioned earlier, that’s a topic for a future post.

Next: Summer Power Ranking of Central Division

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