With all the hype surrounding Jarome Iginla scoring his 550th career goal against the Florida Panthers Sunday, the tremendous three-zone play of Patrice Bergeron and the terrific play of David Krejci, Bruins fans have forgotten and under appreciated the play of their third line center Carl Soderberg. The Swedish forward has 13 points in his last 14 games including a goal and three assists over the past week pushing his season totals to 11 goals and 25 assists (36 points).
When Ryan Spooner became ill before a game earlier on in the season, Claude Julien moved Soderberg to center. Since then, he hasn’t looked back.
The third line consisting of Soderberg, Loui Eriksson and Chris Kelly has really stepped up its game as of late. Their chemistry has improved on a nightly basis-each of them creating numerous chances for one another.
Make no mistake about it, Soderberg’s name often crept up in discussions as The Hub of Hockey was wondering if he will get a shot in the Stanley Cup Finals over Kaspars Daugavins. And when he did eventually get the nod, Bruins fans weren’t impressed.
In six games last season, Soderberg was a minus-2 and scored a grand total of zero goals while tallying two assists. It was evident that he wasn’t yet adapted to the American style of hockey.
What a difference a year makes. Soderberg looks comfortable on the ice. His vision to find his teammates in open space or in the littlest of spaces is fun to watch.
Soderberg’s net front presence has scored the B’s a few goals this season as you saw Sunday night in Florida as Soderberg used his huge frame to screen Roberto Luongo. He is trusted now by Julien logging 14 to 15 minutes of ice time a night. He even sees some time on the power-play when needed.
The 28 year-old Swede has a lot of skill and finesse. His line mate and fellow countryman knows the better chemistry they have, the more confidence they’ll have moving forward.
Soderberg is creeping up the points chart for the Black and Gold as he now trails Brad Marchand for sixth on the team.
Once the playoffs do come, Soderberg will be a different species than he was last season. He is now adapted, comfortable and knows what to expect, which can only bode well for the B’s for a quest for another cup and rolling rally.