BOSTON – Almost six years since the Boston Bruins traded with the St. Louis Blues to acquire his rights, Carl Soderberg arrived in Boston for the first time in his life Tuesday.
He took the morning skate with the Bruins Wednesday prior to his new team's game against the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden.
Now it's time for the 27-year-old to get acclimated to the NHL after spending his entire career playing in his native Sweden.
"I don't think that's going to be a problem," he said. "It's still hockey, and it's a great team I'm playing [on], so hopefully it's going well."
Getting Soderberg, a Blues second-round pick in 2004, to come to North America wasn't easy. The Bruins failed in several attempts to even lure him to the Boston area for their summer development camps with the rest of their prospects. All the while, Soderberg seemed content to skate back home, whether he was in the Swedish Elite League or the league one level below.
The past two seasons, he really hit his stride with Linkoping of the SEL. This season he led the league with 31 goals and finished second with 60 points. This spring, he and his agent J.P. Barry finally opened negotiations with the Bruins.
Asked why he decided to come to the NHL now, Soberberg said, "I don't know. Last two seasons have been my greatest in my career so I wanted to try."
Boston's three-year deal with Soderberg almost came up short in bringing him to North America. The Swedish federation attempted to block the transfer in order to get Soderberg to play in the World Championship. Soderberg said he stayed out of that situation and is glad that things worked out.
The 6-foot-3, 198-pound left shot said he can play center or wing. Versatility might be important for him as one of 15 available forwards on the Bruins roster. Beyond Soderberg's size and versatility, Bruins coach Claude Julien tried to get a feel for his new player during the brief morning skate.
"He's a big, strong guy. He's a good skater," Julien said. "I saw some good things. We put him on the power play there at the end, after practice, and see how he's handling the puck. We're trying to get a feel of what he can bring too. The feeling was pretty optimistic. I liked what I saw from him. Obviously, he's got good size, he's a big player. He normally plays center, he can play wing, so when the time comes we'll make that decision on where we want to put him."