Blackhawks sign veteran Carl Soderberg to 1-year contract, replenishing forward depth

Carl Soderberg joins the Blackhawks after spending last season with the Coyotes (as seen here). | AP Photos

Soderberg’s presence will help compensate for Kirby Dach and Alex Nylander’s injuries. The Blackhawks dipped into the NHL free agent pool Saturday, signing veteran center Carl Soderberg to a one-year contract with a $1 million cap hit.
Soderberg’s presence will help replenish the Hawks’ forward pool following the injuries to Alex Nylander and Kirby Dach within the past week.
“Carl is an experienced center who plays a strong two-way game and adds an element of size to our group of centermen,” general manager Stan Bowman said in a statement. “He has shown the ability to score and match up, which is critical in today’s game, and he also brings consistency and versatility to the team.”
At age 35, Soderberg hardly fits Bowman’s heralded youth movement, although Bowman has insisted all along that a rebuild requires a mix of young and old.
And while the contract and circumstances make this seem like a depth signing, the 6-3 Swede has proven himself a substantial offensive contributor for years.
During previous stints with the Bruins, Avalanche and Coyotes, Soderberg has scored 35 or more points in six of the last seven seasons. He tallied exactly 35 points (17 goals, 18 assists) in 70 games with Arizona in 2019-20, then added two more in nine postseason appearances.
Two areas of concern are Soderberg’s subpar possession and faceoff stats. His on-ice scoring chance ratio has been below 46% in four of the past five seasons, including 45.7% last season. And he’s a career 47.7% faceoff man, bottoming out at 45.3% last season.
Most interestingly, Soderberg is a center — the position at which the Hawks are somehow simultaneously the most deep and also most uncertain.
On one hand, Dylan Strome remains unsigned, Zack Smith and Andrew Shaw have uncertain futures and Dach’s wrist fracture could keep him out for a while — this signing may hint at bad news on that front, despite the lack of an official update from the Hawks.
On the other hand, the Hawks already signed Mattias Janmark and Lucas Wallmark this offseason, still own Jonathan Toews, Ryan Carpenter and David Kampf and have prospect Philipp Kurashev nearing NHL readiness.
Soderberg — and, for that matter, a handful of the others — could always end up traded for draft picks before the April 12 deadline if the Hawks are non-contenders as expected this year.
But in the meantime, Soderberg’s addition will further complicate what should be a fascinating training camp battle to sort out the depth chart down the middle.

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