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Soderberg Joining Boston

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins - You may not have believed it until today, but it's official - Carl Soderberg is a member of the spoked-B.

General Manger Peter Chiarelli announced today, April 13, prior to the Bruins' match-up with Carolina, that the club had signed forward Soderberg to a three-year, one-way contract (annual cap hit of one million).

Soderberg's contract was official at 5:00 p.m., and he is joining the team on Wednesday (April 17). The forward is eligible to play the rest of the regular season and playoffs (though he does not need to play a regular season game to be eligible for the playoffs).

"We are fortunate to get a player like Carl at this stage of the season," the B's GM said in a statement issued with the team's press release.

"Carl is a strong two-way center, who can also play the wing. We look forward to him joining our team next week."

If you ask the B's GM, he might tell you he had always hoped this would happen, but might have been unsure, as the forward has been over playing in Sweden ever since Boston acquired him from the St. Louis Blues on July 23, 2007, in exchange for Hannu Toivonen.

And before being en route to Boston from overseas, the Swedish Elite League's leading scorer had spent 11 seasons working his way through the ranks of his hometown teams in Malmo, Sweden.

Last week, during a weekly call-in to 98.5 The Sports Hub, Chiarelli offered thoughts, when prompted, about the 6-foot-3, 218-pound center and the path he's taken, to hosts Toucher & Rich.

"He was a high-profile centerman in Sweden as a junior, played on the World Junior team with Patrick Berglund, among others. Drafted by St. Louis in the second round, signed a contract with St. Louis, came over and never ended up playing in the period of a month or so, then went back to Sweden."

"He hurt his eye and missed a period of time in Sweden and we acquired him in a trade for Hannu Toivenen and we lifted the suspension on him so he was able to play in Sweden. He's been playing in Malmo, [and then] signed with Linkoping. He's just kind of taken off, he's always been high-profile prospect, he had a bit of a downturn in his career because of the injury and because of the injury and whatever happened in North America."

"But, he's a good player; big, strong kid, shoot the puck, protects the puck, good two-way player. He's played on the Swedish National team with [Gabriel] Landeskog and [Patric] Hornqvist, had a strong line."

The center certainly brings size, but also a hefty dose of speed with his explosive stride, and a finishing touch that led him to a career-high 31 goals to lead the SEL, with 29 assists in 54 games with Linkoping this season. His two-way game also saw him register a plus-18 rating.

Soderberg first became available when his current team in the Swedish Elite League, Linkoping HC, was eliminated from the SEL Playoffs this past Friday, April 5, falling in the series 4-1 to Skelleftea.

During Chiarelli's post-Trade Deadline media availability on April 3, Soderberg's team was clearly still in the playoffs, but the B's GM received questions from the press about the possibility of bringing in the offensive talent.

"Again, I’m not hanging my hat on this. I hope to get him and if we get him he will help us," said Chiarelli at the time. "I do know where some parties involved will be. I don’t know where some other parties involved will be in this."

It looks like Chiarelli and the B's will no longer have to carry that doubt.

Though no one can predict exactly just how Soderberg will fit into the Bruins' lineup, he certainly brings a pedigree of scoring along with him and Chiarelli believes he will slide onto the roster with ease.

"It's just over time and experience, you watch how these guys transition, it's different games over there," Chiarelli told 98.5 The Sports Hub on the making the jump from the larger ice surface overseas to the smaller NHL ice.

"He's a good player; it's going to take him some time to get up and running. You'll see him, if we bring him over, you'll see him in our lineup at some point. He's big and strong and he's got a good two-way element, so he'll fit into our lineup."

The 27-year-old was drafted by the Blues in the second round (49th overall) of the 2004 draft. Since Boston acquired his rights in the trade, and Soderberg wasn't currently under contract with an NHL team, he didn't have to clear waivers before signing with the Bruins.

In the official release sent out by the Bruins, Chiarelli was grateful for the collaborative effort it took to get Soderberg onto the B's roster.

"I would like to thank the President of the Linkoping hockey club, Mike Helber and their GM, Johan Hemlin, in playing a significant part in allowing Carl to play for the Boston Bruins."

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