Hours after having his rights traded from the Boston Bruins to the Colorado Avalanche, Carl Soderberg has booked a long-term stay in the Mile High City.
Soderberg, 169th in Yahoo's season-end fantasy rankings, signed a five-year contract with the Avalanche on Friday. After playing for years in Sweden, Soderberg (C/LW in Yahoo leagues) had a taste with the Bruins in 2012-13 before playing 155 of a possible 164 regular-season games from 2013-14 to 2014-15 with 92 points and a plus-14.
He led the Bruins in assists per 60 minutes (minimum 60 games played) last season and was second on the team behind Patrice Bergeron in primary assists (19). When Boston won the President's Trophy in 2013-14, Soderberg finished 17th in the League (minimum 70 games) with a points per 60 minutes average of 2.77 -- despite being behind David Krejci and Bergeron on the depth chart.
Soderberg's fantasy value hinges on whether Colorado trades center Ryan O'Reilly this offseason, a move that could potentially slide Soderberg in between fellow Swede Gabriel Landeskog and bounce-back candidate Nathan MacKinnon entering training camp. Alex Tanguay played well to close out the 2014-15 season with Landeskog and O'Reilly in MacKinnon's absence, but Soderberg provides stability up the middle that could allow MacKinnon to stick at right wing -- where he thrived en route to the Calder Trophy in 2013-14 alongside Paul Stastny.
If Colorado keeps O'Reilly and Soderberg fits best in a third-line role like in Boston, he will still be a two-way boost to a Colorado team that had a weak bottom-six group and was suspect on the back end. Also, given his solid track record with the man advantage (16 power-play points in 2013-14, eight in 2014-15), Soderberg would strengthen Colorado's second unit and possibly even see time with the top group.
But Soderberg's fantasy sleeper upside lies in the possibility that the Avalanche deal O'Reilly and thrust the 29-year-old into a second-line role behind Duchene. There's also the chance that O'Reilly could move to left wing on Matt Duchene's line at even strength if he stays in Colorado, which would also boost Soderberg. In either of those two scenarios, Soderberg could eclipse 50 points for the first time of his career and be well worth a pick in the 15th round or later.