SUNRISE, Fla. -- Carl Soderberg skating around in a Merlot jersey during Wednesday morning practice at the BB&T Center meant a couple of different things: The Big Swede has now been cleared for contact as he comes back from an ankle injury, and he might be looking at a stint on the fourth line when he does make his return.
It’s difficult to tell where Soderberg fits in after missing the first five regular season games with an ankle injury suffered in the final preseason game in Winnipeg, but he’s certainly nearing his first appearance of the season. Soderberg said following practice that the pain and swelling are completely gone, and that he’s feeling good after an antsy few weeks.
“I feel good, but I have to talk to the trainers today,” said Soderberg. “You always have a need for a couple of practices before you play in a game.
“I hate not to play. Everybody does. Two to three weeks isn’t that long a time, so it goes by fast and you’re able to keep your shape. It shouldn’t be a problem.”
It would appear Jordan Caron has a steady hold on the wing position along the third line after being inserted into the lineup. He has a goal and seven shots on net in little more than 12 minutes of ice time per game. So there’s also the matter of deciding which player would be removed from the lineup in order to make room for Soderberg when he’s ready.
There’s always the chance an injury could create an opening, but Claude Julien might need to make a roster decision in the next few games to get a healing Soderberg into the mix.
“We’re getting close,” said Julien. “I think it’s important to get players in. He had a really good camp, and it’s just unfortunate that he got hurt. When the times I need to make the decision. If I can’t take anybody out then I can’t, but I’d certainly like to get him in there if I could.”
It’s most likely too soon for Soderberg to be considered a possibility for Thursday, but it would appear that the Big Swede’s time is coming.