Carl Soderberg: Avalanche Player Profile


The Colorado Avalanche have a new center, Carl Soderberg, who’s got quite a story. He’s lived quite a life for one so young and, frankly, seemingly shy.

Soderberg is largely heralded as Ryan O’Reilly’s replacement,  though that’s not really fair. Rather,  he’s one piece of a puzzle the Avalanche are implementing to better their chances in the Central Division.  Avalanche GM Joe Sakic has said Soderberg is slated to center young Nathan MacKinnon and his own countryman, captain Gabriel Landeskog.

Soderberg signed with the Colorado Avalanche almost immediately upon being traded. His contract is for five years with an annual cap hit of $4.75 million.

Carl Soderberg, the Early Years

Carl Soderberg is from the third-largest city in Sweden, Malmo, a place characterised by griffin sculptures and a Turning Torso building:

The Turning Torso building in Carl Soderberg’s hometown of Malmo, Sweden. Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons.

That also happens to be the tallest building in Scandinavia.

By the age of 16, Soderberg was already playing for the Malmo Redhawks in the J20 SuperElit. The J20 SuperElit is the premier junior ice hockey league in Sweden. In 2004 he transitioned to the adult league, HockeyAllsvenskan.

Before that, though, he got drafted.

Carl Soderberg, the Non-NHL Years

The St. Louis Blues drafted Carl Soderberg 49th overall in the 2004 NHL Draft.

Players don’t always enter the NHL the year they get drafted — in fact, only a small handful does. This is especially true of players outside the, say, top 10 in the draft. (Ask Duncan Siemens, Joey Hishon, et al.)

So, truthfully, it wasn’t a big surprise that Soderberg stayed in Sweden to continue development. That particular year he played for the Morrums GolS IK. It wasn’t even too surprising when Soderberg stayed in Sweden another season, this time transitioning to the adult version of the Malmo Redhawks.

In September 2006, Carl Soderberg attended the St. Louis Blues’ training camp. He was 20 years old at the time, but he’d never lived outside of Sweden. Soderberg told the Boston Globe:

"“I was too young. I wasn’t ready for it at that point. From the first day I came over I wanted to go home.”"

Outsiders had been telling him it was time to start his NHL career. However, he didn’t like his new surroundings because they weren’t home. He had trouble getting to know his new teammates because he barely spoke English. So, when the organization told him another change was coming, that he was being sent to the team’s AHL affiliate, he flew back to Sweden and his Redhawks instead.

He stayed with the Redhawks for four seasons after that one, too, before moving on to the Linkopings HC of the Swedish Elite League.

By then the St. Louis Blues had traded his rights to the Boston Bruins. The Bruins wanted him. However, year after year GM Peter Chiarelli would call Soderberg or his agent and hear that, once again, this year was not the year Soderberg was coming to the NHL.

Soderberg finally made his NHL debut with the Boston Bruins during the 2012-13 season. He may have come over sooner, but he had to re-train his vision after losing most of the sight in his left eye. The accident occurred when he was 22 and took a high stick to the eye, which detached the retina. Luckily he was able to see things differently — literally.

Soderberg has said of the injury and recovery:

"“I can see a little bit, but not too much. That was a long time ago, and I’m used to it now. It took me a couple years, but right now I don’t think of it anymore.”"

Carl Soderberg’s Excitement about the Colorado Avalanche

Just prior to the 2015 NHL Draft, The Colorado Avalanche traded a 2016 draft pick for the rights to Carl Soderberg,  who was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.  Turn s out Soderberg had never wanted to test free agency. He told the Denver Post that there was “no doubt” that he wanted to come to Colorado when he heard the Avalanche were interested in him.

"“Colorado is a great hockey club. I said go ahead, and then everything went really fast. When Joe and Patrick said they were interested in me, I wanted to go to Colorado right away.”"

Soderberg says the captain has already called and welcomed him to the team.

Unfortunately for the rest of us, we’ve got to wait until September and training camp tp welcome Carl Soderberg to Avs Nation.

More Avalanche Player Profiles:

Next: Soderberg's Long-Term Role with the Avs

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