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Soderberg excited by likely Avalanche linemates

NHL.com @NHL

Carl Soderberg was already planning to join the Colorado Avalanche, but when he heard who his linemates might be, he became even more intrigued.

Soderberg, who was traded to Colorado by the Boston Bruins on June 25 and the next day signed a five-year contract, is expected to center Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon.

"They told me they wanted me to play centerman and they like my game. I'm a two-way centerman," Soderberg told the Denver Post in remarks published Friday. "And they had a thought of playing me with those two guys. I'm excited."

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Soderberg will replace Ryan O'Reilly, who was traded to the Buffalo Sabres on June 27, two days after Colorado acquired Soderberg for a sixth-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.

O'Reilly had 17 points in 13 games in March last season, playing primarily with Landeskog and Alex Tanguay. MacKinnon was injured and did not play after March 4.

Boston let go of Soderberg in part because of the NHL salary cap.

"I was waiting for Boston to come back to me," Soderberg said in a phone interview from Sweden. "When they didn't have room for me, my agent told me Colorado was interested in me. There was no doubt for me. Colorado is a great hockey club. I said, 'Go ahead,' and then everything went really fast."

Soderberg could have become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 but instead chose to sign a five-year, $23.75 million contract with Colorado.

Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic and coach Patrick Roy, along with Landeskog, who played with Soderberg on Sweden's national team, quickly convinced him to commit.

"I just didn't want to go through it (free agency), and when Joe and Patrick said they were interested in me, I wanted to go to Colorado right away," he said.

Soderberg, 29, had 44 points (13 goals) in 2014-15, his second full season in the NHL. The 49th pick in the 2004 NHL Draft by the St. Louis Blues played for Malmo in Sweden before joining the Bruins late in the 2012-13 season.

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