The Bruins won’t re-sign Carl Soderberg, does he fit with the Canucks?

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Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports

Barring something major, the Vancouver Canucks are going to be pressed up against the uncertain upper limit of the NHL’s salary cap this summer. That doesn’t mean we’re in for a quiet off-season though. 

In consecutive summers Canucks general manager Jim Benning has been at the centre of some massive transactions. From the Tyler Seguin deal (which Benning advocated for in Boston’s pro-meetings that June), to the Jason Garrison and Ryan Kesler trades, the frank Canucks executive has shown ingenuity in creating salary cap space on the trade market and a willingness to ask highly paid players to waive their no-trade clauses. 

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Based on the club’s balance sheet and their posture we might reasonably expect the club to be in for a quiet offseason. Based on Benning’s usual modus operandi though, we also shouldn’t be shocked if they’re in the middle of the action once again on the draft floor. And if the club can clear the requisite space, should they pursue Boston Bruins centre Carl Soderberg?

Soderberg is a 29-year-old centreman who has two full seasons of NHL experience under his belt. The Swedish-born forward joined the NHL late in his career, after lighting up the Elitserien/SHL through his mid-20s. He’s big (he’s listed at 6-foot-3 and over 215 pounds), he’s produced even-strength offense at a second-line rate and he probably has more defensive than offensive value. He’s also good at directing Traffic

Perhaps most importantly, Soderberg is likely to be available this summer, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. From a recent Friedman appearance on Sportsnet 590 the Fan (transcript courtesy Chris Nichols and todaysslapshot.com):

The other one I heard was that Carl Soderberg, who’s the center for the Bruins, is not going to be re-signed. I said ‘unlikely’ to re-sign because things always change. But it’s extremely unlikely. And teams are going to be looking for free agent centers.

He had some issues last year dealing with some of the top lines in the league, but he still had 36 even strength points. That’s how many Claude Giroux, Jason Spezza and Phil Kessel had. That’s a pretty interesting number to me.

Friedman added that he could see the Bruins shopping Soderberg’s signing rights before July 1. 

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Soderberg’s agent JP Barry, who also represents the Sedin twins, Mike Santorelli, and Yannick Weber, told Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe that the Bruins informed him that they “can’t make (Soderberg) an offer at this juncture.”

The unrestricted free agent market is going to be shallow this July, and Soderberg’s size, relative youth, and position will conspire to make him a premium asset. 

It won’t be easy for a team facing Vancouver’s salary cap issues to add a bigger ticket item like the 29-year-old Swedish centre, and they should be leery of committing too much term to a player that turns 30 in the fall. If the Canucks the can move out the requisite money, Soderberg would represent a solid secondary addition, he’d further bolster the club’s depth down the middle, and he could be a near-perfect foil to the more offensively-oriented Nick Bonino.



  • allsportsfan

    I dont think the Canucks will have enough Cap to even resign their RFAs.

    Unless they drop Miller like a bad habit i find it hard to see where they’ll have any cap room for an experienced Dman.

  • allsportsfan

    I think Soderberg would be an upgrade over Bonino at the 2C position, if he could be signed in the low $3M range. Physically bigger with better shooting/passing skill (although Bonino is no slouch). I’d even trade Bonino if that was necessary to make it happen.

    • allsportsfan

      Yeah was just thinking the same thing, much rather have Soderberg than Bonino. Maybe we can get a 15 or 16 2nd rounder + for bones at the draft to free up some cap space.

  • allsportsfan

    If they can find the space, it would set the team up very nicely down the middle, being able to roll 3 very strong #3 C types behind Henrik, with Horvat having the #2C upside. I think it would also allow both Henrik and Bonino some softer minutes which would help their production.

    Downside is the cap savings to do it would have to come from somewhere, likely the backend, which has its own issues that need addressing.

  • allsportsfan

    “he still had 36 even strength points. That’s how many Claude Giroux, Jason Spezza and Phil Kessel had.”

    Doubt he signs for cheap, meaning anything less than $4.5 million

    We’d have to get rid of a few contracts for that and as much as that would be a huge upgrade over Bonino it would be hard for Benning to pull off that many trades in 2 years. I’d be for it but for sure you’d have to get rid of Miller, Burrows, Bieksa’s or Hamhuis contracts to even think about being under the cap.

    • Canuck4Life20

      Bonino had 34 even-strength points in 75 games played; on pace for 37 in 82 GP, his pace outperforming Soderberg (and Giroux, Kessel, etc). He actually scored more 5-on-5 points than Kesler did this year, in 6 fewer games, BTW. All this for under $2 mill. When people talk about Soderberg as an upgrade *offensively* over Bonino, they’re blowing smoke.

      Would I like Soderberg? Yes; I like his size, his faceoff skills, and his defensive abilities. Would I add him? Yes; but I’d do so to free up Bo for a more offensive role, with Soderberg taking the tough DZ draws. Soderberg as an upgrade over Richie.

      But for that to work, we need to be much cheaper on D, especially on the 5-6 pairing.

      • allsportsfan

        Except that I didn’t say he was an offensive upgrade over Bonino, I just framed he was in the same range of 5 on 5 prowess as the others and I think he would be an overall upgrade, 2specially from a speed and size point of view.

        What Bonino lacks and I sure hope he has upside is to improve his quickness. If Brad Richards can do it then Bonino should as well. I just don’t think he’s quick enough.

        Nothing is likely to happen unless Benning can clear cap room, so it’s just interesting talk right now, which I think a lot of people would like.

  • Canuck4Life20

    After Ferrence’s ordeal in Edmonton I don;t think Soderberg is itching to come up here any time soon. not even if Mayor Robertson gives him a lap dance with a bicycle.

  • Canuck4Life20

    I think we’re not looking at this correctly– at their age, skill and production, the twins are perfect 2nd line players— we need to revamp the first line, either from the farm, youth or the free agent pool- the longer we have the once dominant sedins as our first line, the longer it will be till we go deep into the playoffs.

    Not that I hate the Sedins, nor am i Ragging on them– Its just getting obvious that they are in decline…

    • Canuck4Life20

      Sedins finished in the top 20 in scoring last year, considering that there are 90 first line spots available I’d say they would only be 2nd liners on the most elite of teams.

    • pheenster

      I agree that the first line needs revamping but the only way to do it in a cost-effective manner is to draft and develop. Any trade or free agent signing will have a disproportionate cost in terms of hockey assets or cap space.

      If anything, Kesler should have been the one to take over the 1C position as the Sedins dropped to 2C. Cody Hodgson should have been 3C in preparation to take the 2C spot as the Sedins retired. However, Mike Gillis messed everything up because he was arrogant and rather than admitting he mishandled Hodgson (i.e. blaming Hodgson’s work ethic rather than acknowledging that his back was misdiagnosed), he traded him away. I was so pissed when Hodgson got traded back in 2012 and now we’re seeing the long-term impact of his mismanagement.

      • allsportsfan

        Well, from back to front:

        It was Coach Vee that got a bug up his butt over Hodgson’s work ethic/back issues, not Gillis. What we are seeing right now is that Cody tends to shrink rather than rise to the challenge when facing adversity (see: Buffalo, just in general). That said, I was also quite teed off with Alain that preseason, for the same reasons you allude to.

        Mike Gillis made many mistakes because of his arrogance. Messing up the ‘succession plan’ at C wasn’t one of them. When you look at Kesler’s post-2011 ice time, Kesler basically had already transitioned to the top line, 5-on-5, with the Sedins as an elite second line & PP specialists. The mistake at that time was in not finding anything remotely approaching a legitimate top-6 winger to play with Kesler. Part of that was probably due to injuries (Mason Raymond & Booth never really recovered their forms after 2011); part of that *was* GMMG’s belief that he was the smartest man in the room, and could find a diamond in someone else’s coal dust.

        Of course, then the plan *was* derailed, ironically enough, by GMMG’s lack of confidence in his own plan as he kowtowed to the owner’s demands for Torts and Torts rode the Sedins into the dirt.

        There is a second way to get top-end assets; trade-and-develop. That’s what Benning is trying to do, to reclaim the missing cohort of Canucks early 20s assets, and get them playing his style in Utica before setting them loose on the Big Stage. Only time will tell if Benning’s strategy will work or not.

      • pheenster

        I hate to be the one that breaks this to you, but Cody Hodgson is a bust. The best he can be considered at this point is a reclamation project and with his contract even that is something of a reach. His chances of becoming an impact player in the NHL are minimal. Not impossible but exceptionally unlikely.

        You might not like to admit it but Mike Gillis won that trade. I didn’t like him bragging to the media about how they “showcased” Hodgson with the implication that they duped the Sabres, but he still won the trade. If anybody tells you that Hodgson has more upside than Kassian right now, they’re on glue.

  • Canuck4Life20

    Trade Higgins to Boston for rights to Soderberg. We shed 2.5 in cap, dump Bieksa for hockey sticks we dump another 4.6 in cap. YOu have room for Soderberg and perhaps Bartkowski. Both an improvement on what we have and younger. Higgins will agree because it is going near home and I think he sees his role in Vancouver diminishing with Baertschi and the other youngsters coming up. Bieksa will be number 5, 6 or 7 this year and going East might appeal to him, where speed is not as prevalent on a lot of teams.

  • Canuck4Life20

    I the Canucks move out a lot of the older players (Higgins, Vrbata, Bieksa, Burrows, Richardson etc) then this would be an OK signing (depends on $).

    I think it’s a bad idea to rely on older players. The Canucks have to let their young players develop and not keep blocking them.