Swedish Ice Hockey Federation Blocks Bruins’ Deal with Carl Soderberg
By Mitch Cole (@DirtyWaterBuzz)
Just when the Bruins thought they were going to add one final piece to their forward corps, Sweden decided to object.
Just days after Carl Soderberg signed a three year, $2.6M contract with the Bruins and secured his release from his Swedish team, Linkoping HC, the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation chose to block the move.
The Bruins first acquired the rights to Soderberg in 2007, when they dealt goaltender Hannu Toivonen to St. Louis for the talented Swede. The Bruins have attempted to bring Soderberg to Boston several times since the initial trade, and many believed Soderberg would never don the black and gold. However, the Bruins finally managed to convince Soderberg to come to North America back in March, when TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that the big bodied Swede was hoping to join the Bruins after Linkoping completed the Swedish Elite League Playoffs. Soderberg led the SEL in scoring this season, racking up 31 goals and 29 assists for a total of 60 points in 54 games played. Soderberg was also a +18 on the year for Linkoping.
The SIHF blocked the move in order to ensure that Soderberg plays for Sweden in the upcoming IIHF Worls Championships in Stockholm, as well as Helinski, Finland.
“He’s (Soderberg) the best Swedish centerman and will be the cornerstone of Tre Kronor (Swedish National Team) in Stockholm”, SIHF vice president Peter Forsberg (no, not the ex-NHL superstar).
The NHL, specifically vice president Bill Daly, who has been handling the negotiations with Sweden, must now decide how to proceed. Early reports have Soderberg defying the SIHF and making the jump to North America anyways, but those are unconfirmed as of now.
However, Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe states:
“The NHL is now entering a five day period to determine its next move, according to a source familiar with the situation. The NHL could go against the Swedes and stamp Soderberg’s transfer card. If that happens and the Swedish Federation balks, the issue might have to be settled in an arbitration court.”
For now, Bruins fans will have to wait and see. All reports indicate that Soderberg still wishes to play for the Bruins this season, but things could get messy between the two leagues. If matters go to an arbitration court, this could create tension between the NHL and SIHF; two leagues that have worked very well together in the past. It is unclear what the NHL plans to do still, but it is likely they will announce their next move in the next few days.