Pittsburgh Penguins Free Agency: Carl Soderberg Should Be High on the Pens Radar


There are many cynics out there that believe the Pittsburgh Penguins are in a crisis. Honestly, I’m not sure why that’s the feeling across this fan base right now. They still have arguably the best core in hockey with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, and Marc-Andre Fleury, and simply need to add pieces that compliment that cast appropriately.

I visited this a few weeks back to show that it is possible to build a solid team around their youth. And, I still believe this to be the case. I made my opinion pretty clear on Twitter regarding this situation.

Eric Fehr is someone that I’ve been very high on for the Pittsburgh Penguins this summer. But, Carl Soderberg is undoubtedly a great option for third line center if Brandon Sutter is indeed traded as so many have speculated. Soderberg, an unrestricted free agent on July 1 courtesy of the Boston Bruins, is coming off a 44 point season (13g, 31a) in which he made $1.008 million.

Of course, a raise is obviously in order for Soderberg. He’s likely looking at something in the $3.5 million range if you consider his production and other players in a similar role. Even if his price is a bit more, the Pittsburgh Penguins can afford him whether they are able to shed Rob Scuderi‘s contract or not. This is a no-brainer.

Below is Soderberg’s HERO chart, via ownthepuck.blogspot.ca.

Soderberg produces points at nearly a first line pace. His shots-for are on the low side, but not for a third line two-way center. When you talk about a complimentary piece to your stars, this is exactly what you’re looking for.

Another great thing about Soderberg is his versatility. He can move up and down the lineup in the event of injury, which is also represented in the chart above with his even-strength time-on-ice per game. Take a look at who Soderberg would be replacing in this role.

As you can see, he’s clearly an immediately upgrade over Brandon Sutter, who has one of the ugliest HERO charts in the league for a $3.3 million player.

One question when it comes to Soderberg, or any other third line center acquisition in the event of Sutter departing, is what about Oskar Sundqvist? Well, I’d feel much more comfortable entering the upcoming season with Sundqvist anchoring the fourth line while a player like Soderberg or Fehr handle third line responsibilities.

The Pens are in a situation that allows them to add players at this price, mostly due to their youth movement on defense. I imagine a third line that consists of Chris Kunitz, Carl Soderberg, and Pascal Dupuis, which gives you speed, tenacity, and the ability to produce. It’s expensive, but effective. And, it’s one of the few options Pittsburgh has given their abundance of overpaid veterans.

Free agency begins on July 1, and while the Pittsburgh Penguins aren’t expected to be all that active in this market, they’ll have to consider who will replace Sutter as all signs point to him being moved. Carl Soderberg is the answer to that question and will not only fill the role currently occupied by Sutter, but he’ll give the Pens a much needed boost. Taking the pressure off a guy like Sundqvist an allowing him to anchor the fourth line will do wonders for his development as well.

It’s hard to find a downside to this possibility. Thanks for reading, and of course follow me on Twitter at @Michael29Angelo for more free agency and trade rumor chatter from around the league.

Next: Should the Pens Target Jiri Hudler This Summer?

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