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Carl Soderberg’s first full season with the Boston Bruins was a successful one.
He smoothly transitioned into the third-line center role with Chris Kelly missing a lot of games due to injuries and began to make a positive impact at both ends of the ice. The Swedish forward also used his size (6-foot-3, 216 pounds) and playmaking skill to provide much-needed scoring depth.
With a full year of NHL experience, Soderberg is poised to have a career season in 2014-15.
2013-14 Stats: 16 goals, 32 assists, 48 points in 73 games
Contract: UFA in 2015 with a $1,008,333 salary cap hit
What He Will Bring The Team
Soderberg is a great passer, and this allows him to create scoring chances from the point, below the goal line or from the half wall. He’s a pass-first center, but he’s also capable of scoring goals with his accurate shot. Soderberg scored 16 goals on just 129 shots last season, and he could hit the 20-goal mark in 2014-15 if he’s more aggressive in the attacking zone.
Soderberg’s offensive skill was a huge boost to a Bruins power-play unit that ranked third with a 21.7 percent success rate. His 16 power-play points (five goals, 11 assists) were the third-most on the team and second-highest among B’s forwards.
The 29-year-old center also plays a responsible defensive game, which allows B’s head coach Claude Julien to trust him in any situation. Soderberg fights for puck possession in all areas, back checks consistently and rarely gets caught out of position.
Weakness That Must Be Improved
Soderberg really struggled on faceoffs last season. His 42.7 win percentage was the worst among Bruins forwards who took 150 or more draws. The Bruins are one of the top faceoff teams in the league, and consistently winning draws helps them finish among the leaders in puck possession (Boston ranked fourth in corsi-for percentage in 2013-14). If Soderberg is going to play center on the third line in place of Kelly, he must improve on faceoffs.
Expected Role For 2014-15
Soderberg likely will play center on the third line. He’s the best fit for that role because of his size, hockey smarts and two-way skill set. He should also feature on special teams, both as a playmaker on the power play and a center on the penalty kill. Soderberg will be highly motivated to see career highs in several statistics because he’s eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer.
Projected 2014-15 Stats: 20 goals, 35 assists in 78 games
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