Colorado Avalanche: Could the Team Trade Carl Soderberg to Pittsburgh?

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 11: Carl Soderberg
PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 11: Carl Soderberg /

The Colorado Avalanche could consider trading Carl Soderberg to the Pittsburgh Penguins — or any playoff-bound team — for a draft pick or a prospect.

The Colorado Avalanche might squeak into the playoffs, even without their best defenseman, Erik Johnson. It is, however, unlikely. And even if they do manage to squeak in, I can’t imagine they make it past the first round — even if Johnson were to magically heal in time.

This year’s Avalanche wasn’t built for a deep playoff run. This year’s Avalanche is built for developing into a Stanley Cup contender in a few years’ time. And while the youngsters in particular can benefit from some playoff experience, that’s not the only way this year’s team can provide for the future.

Areas of Need

While this year’s Avalanche are deeper than they were last year, they don’t have the coffers completely filled just yet. One of the main areas they’re going to need to develop some depth is at goaltending.

Another area is at defense. They’re very well-stocked with speedy, puck-moving defenseman. However, they could use a tad more size and grit at that position.

Finally, they could use a pure, goal-scoring wing for the lower lines, say a Mikko Rantanen suitable for the third line. Or, really, the second line.

The Avalanche have a lot of the same commodities at this year’s NHL Trade Deadline — February 26 at 1:00 pm MT. However, some of those commodities can look a lot more valuable because the team isn’t in a death spiral like they were this time last year. One of those commodities is Carl Soderberg.

Value of Carl Soderberg

Colorado Avalanche
Colorado Avalanche /

Colorado Avalanche

Whenever I talk trades, I usually leave Soderberg off the list. It’s not that I think he’s an integral part of this team’s future — he’s not. No blame to Carl, he’s just on the wrong side of 30 for a team basing its future on a gaggle of players ranging from 19 to 23.

The reason I usually leave Soderberg off the trade list is his contract — he’s got two more years with a $4.45 million cap it. Carl Soderberg is having a good year, but not that good. And he was atrocious last year.

The year before, though, he was darn good. In the 2015-16 season, Soderberg recorded 51 points (12 goals, 39 assists).

Soderberg is on-pace for a 33-point season. However, of the nine points he’s on-pace to get, I wouldn’t be surprised to see four or five of them come as goals — he’s already got 11.

What’s more, Soderberg is a responsible, even-keel type of player. He’s intelligent on the ice, and he doesn’t break easily. He didn’t miss any games in the 2015-16 season and only missed two last year. He also missed two this year — to be with his wife during the birth of their third child.

Carl Soderberg could be an asset to a team looking to make a deep Cup run.

Trading Carl Soderberg

A team like the Pittsburgh Penguins, might be interested in trading for Carl Soderberg:

I doubt they’d want to sign him at $4.75 million, though. The Colorado Avalanche would almost certainly have to retain some of his salary — probably half. They can afford it, though — they’ve got the cap space.

In return, the Colorado Avalanche could expect a draft pick or a prospect. Thanks in part to Joe Sakic’s Matt Duchene trade, prices are high this season. Just yesterday, forward Frank Vatrano (23 years old, 2 goals in 25 games this year) went to the Panthers from Boston for a third-rounder.

Also yesterday, forward Michael Grabner went to New Jersey from New York for defensive prospect Yegor Rykov and a second-rounder. Grabner is 30 years old and has 31 points (25 goals, six assists).

I’m not saying Soderberg has quite the value of either of those players. However, he could fetch a fourth-rounder or a prospect. An offensively-stacked team like the Penguins might be willing to give up 20-year-old Daniel Sprong for a half-price Soderberg. Sprong has been tearing it up in the AHL.

Deciding to Trade Soderberg

Losing a guy like Carl Soderberg would be a blow to the Avalanche. He’s been one of their steadiest players. He’s been on a consistent line with Matthew Nieto and Blake Comeau (until the latest salad spinner line approach last night). They’ve been a steady force for Colorado.

In fact, removing Soderberg from that line would probably result in a dropoff of their play. That said, the line only has two points in its last five games — a goal and an assist, both from Soderberg himself.

If the Colorado Avalanche aren’t making a big bid for the playoffs, they can afford that loss. Soderberg is 32. Yes, he can be a mentor on the team. However, 25-year-old captain Gabriel Landeskog is striding into his prime. Plus, Colorado has 28-year-old Colin Wilson for another year, And 27-year-old Gabriel Bourque has made a case for himself to get another (cheap) contract after this season.

Plus, trading Soderberg frees up a roster spot for one of the many youngsters Colorado has in its growing coffers.

Next: Injuries May Alter Avs Trade Deadline

Carl was a bit of a failed experiment, a poor man’s Ryan O’Reilly for a team that thought it was more contender-ready than it was. If the Avalanche can get a useful piece that will help in the future, they should trade him.