The Boston Bruins have reportedly made more headway in bringing Swedish Elite League star Carl Soderberg to the NHL, crossing off two of three important steps in the process. While no details have been made official, numerous sources including CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty and ESPN Boston’s James Murphy have confirmed that the Bruins and the 27-year-old have come to an agreement on a contract, and his Swedish team, Linkoping HC, have agreed to release him from his team contract as well.
The remaining hurdle is for the Swedish Ice Hockey Association to approve Soderberg’s transfer to NHL, which still has not been completed. There have been many rumors flying around whether or not Sweden would agree to the release given the upcoming Olympics, but it seems as though the feelings are positive in terms of making this swap official.
B’s President Cam Neely said that things were “looking good” from the Bruins’ perspective today on The Sports Hub with Felger and Mazz, adding that Soderberg would have a shot with the big club this season, likely starting at wing. Soderberg led the SEL with 31 goals and 60 points in 54 games this season, and could potentially bolster the Bruins offensively if he can make a quick adjustment. According to reports, if he plays in a single regular season game he will be eligible to play in this year’s playoffs as well, another good sign.
While many fans are excited about the prospect of adding another scorer to the lineup, Soderberg still has a lot to prove in terms of being an effective NHL player. He’s supposedly been reluctant to come to North America for a number of years after the Bruins acquired his rights in 2007 (Hannu Toivonen anyone?), with the European game a far more wide open game built around speed and skill. While the 6’3″ 210 lb. Soderberg certain possesses the size and skillset to play a slower, more physical game here, there will undoubtedly be an adjustment (including going from center to wing) to make, so don’t go handing him the scoring title quite yet. But with the Bruins current offensive struggles well documented (last night aside), the potential to add another skilled player to a team that is built around depth is certainly something to keep an eye on.
UPDATE 4/10/13: TSN’s Darren Dreger is reporting that Soderberg’s new contract with the Bruins is for 3 years, paying him $600k this year and $1m for the next two.
On the official news front, the Bruins announced today that they’ve signed prospect Seth Griffith to a three year entry level contract. Drafted by Boston in the fifth round of the 2012 Entry Draft, the 20 year old had a breakout year with the OHL’s London Knights, tallying 81 points in 54 games, including 33 goals.
At 5’11″ and 185 lbs. he has some growing to do, but has displayed impressive play-making abilities and a serious scoring touch this season. It’s unclear whether Griffith will join the Providence Bruins at the conclusion of his OHL post-season, but signing this deal shows the Bruins have definite interest in making him a part of their future.