Swedish import Carl Soderberg finally made his long awaited debut for the Boston Bruins after the team had pursued him for the last six years.
The Big Swede hype was certainly better than the debut on Saturday as the 27-year-old Soderberg played a very uneventful 16:10 of ice time in Boston’s 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s a new system. It’s a lot of things to think about out there,” said Soderberg. “Hopefully I can learn a lot of things every day and get in their system so I fit in with the team.”
He finished without any shots on net or any registered hits in his 16 plus minutes, and instead took a hooking penalty as his only noticeable factor in the contest. It’s certainly way too early to pass judgment on a player just getting his feet wet, but the debut wasn’t an auspicious one.
The Swedish forward admitted that the pacing, intensity and sheer physicality of the NHL was a big step up from the Swedish Elite League – a statement that should surprise exactly nobody.
“It’s high speed of course. It is better [quality of] play than Sweden, and it’s been tough on me,” admitted Soderberg. “I haven’t played in a long time, so hopefully it’s getting better and better.
“I tried to keep my game simple. I tried to get some good passes. That’s the way I play usually too. Maybe I should have had some shots too, but not today.”
There weren’t any shots on Saturday for Soderberg, and at times he admittedly looked a little lost on the ice while assimilating to new teammates, a new system and the smaller North American ice surface. There also the very strange and probably frightening circumstances surrounding his first week in Boston, and getting accustomed to everything involved in relocating his life from Sweden to Boston.
With all of that in mind, Claude Julien was perfectly okay with his first showing at the NHL level.
“I thought he handled himself well for his first game,” said Julien. “The one thing is…he’s a smart player. He’s going to figure it out pretty quickly.”
Soderberg will need to figure it out quickly with only five games remaining in the regular season before the playoffs arrive, but a possible injury to Nathan Horton might keep the Swede in the Boston lineup either way. The hope is that there’s a quick learning curve as Soderberg settles into his new role with the Black and Gold.