With 12 points in 20 games in his first real NHL stint, Carl Soderberg is making his mark as a Bruin.
After impressing in moments of the Stanley Cup Final, Soderberg trained at an elite level this past offseason; and after suffering a high ankle sprain late in training camp, his “yeti” status as a “mythical legend” is starting to make sense.
Many of the true die-hards here in Boston have been clamoring for the chance to see Soderberg play ever since the Bruins acquired him for Hannu Toivenen back in 2007; and after making the trip overseas in the spring, it looks as though the Swede is here to stay.
Thus far, he’s impressed in a number of areas, profiling a diverse skillset as a multi-talented player. He’s strong, drives to the net, and while he’s not overly physical racking up hits on every shift, he never shies away from the dirty areas, and isn’t afraid to get bumped.
The Swede also has soft hands, terrific passing ability, and can shoot, or dangle, when given space and time. There’s a lot to like about this player, and the excitement surrounding him is very much warranted.
On Saturday, with both teams on the second night of back-to-back games, the Bruins hosted the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Soderberg had a solid first period on Saturday, limiting mistakes and making smart passes- one of his best assets. He plays a simple game and rarely puts his team in a vulnerable position.
He almost netted a goal on a wicked wrist shot from above the right circle, but was denied by rookie goaltender Curtis McElhinney.
Later in the period, Soberberg, on the forcecheck, intercepted an errant breakout pass and walked in past the Columbus defensemen; he was hooked down, drawing a penalty on the play.
Thanks to the Swede, Milan Lucic scored a power play goal shortly after, giving the Bruins a 2-0 first period lead.
The second period was eerily similar to the first- a decent amount of shots and chances for the Bruins, and almost none for the Blue Jackets- who really didn’t have their game Saturday night.
Soderberg continued to play well, chipping in on odd-man rushes and making tape-to-tape passes.
While he didn’t get many chances to shoot the puck, the 27-year-old center/winger continued playing the Bruins system to perfection, a job well done by any third-line player.
The game ended with a 3-1 final in favor of the Bruins. A solid win against one of the NHL’s bottom dwellers, after an emotional game against the New York Rangers the day before. Although held off the score sheet, Soderberg’s presence was felt throughout the game both even-strength and on the power play.
He’s fit in very well and should continue to blossom playing on the third line for the Bruins; and coach Claude Julien emphasized the importance of being able to roll four lines who can create offense after Saturday’s game.
“It’s hard to rely on the same people night in, night out to produce goals; everybody goes dry for a little bit and every line has their ups and downs,” he said. “To me, we’ve got four lines right now that are capable of producing and that fourth line has scored some big goals for us but to me, that third line production is very close to the same production as the top two. So that gives us a pretty good line.
Milan Lucic, the number one star of the game with two goals and a fight, shared his thoughts postgame: