Like a lot of Colorado Avalanche players’ offensive numbers did in 2016-17, Carl Soderberg’s took something of a, well, a dip.

Soderberg had 51 points the season before, a strong start in the first of a five-year free-agent contract with the club. The follow-up year? Fourteen points. Six goals, eight assists, in 80 games. A drastic dropoff for a guy who had put up 48- and 44-point seasons before his career-high 51 with the Avs.

Soderberg’s role with the Avalanche moving forward appears a bit uncertain. He will not dress for Thursday’s final preseason game at Las Vegas, though coach Jared Bednar said it’s just a normal scratch for a team that still has 29 players on its preseason roster and wants to see prospect hopefuls one last time before final cuts need to be made.

The question is: Can Soderberg get back to being the 40-50 point guy he was before last year?

Well, it depends, the 31-year-old Swede said.

“For sure, I could make 40-50 points again. But it’s up to coach where he wants me in the lineup,” Soderberg said. “If he wants me higher up in the lineup, I can get 40-50 points. But if I’m lower, it’s going to be harder.”

Soderberg, believe it or not, is the oldest player on the Avs. He has three years left on his contract, at $4.75 million per, making him the eighth-highest paid player on the club. Right now, though, it appears he’s the club’s fourth-line center until Bednar and/or management moves dictate otherwise. Soderberg’s ice time dropped dramatically under Bednar’s first year as coach than the previous one under Patrick Roy. He played 1,477 minutes in 82 games under Roy, but just 1,075 in 80 games for Bednar.

So, Soderberg is in a bit of a Catch-22. He can’t put up the points of yore, probably, without the ice time. But if he doesn’t put up the points, he won’t get the ice time. For now, he’s just going about his business and has had a pretty good preseason so far.

“Right now, we like the balance we have on all of our lines. You look at a guy like (Tyson) Jost, he’s playing on our fourth line right now,” Bednar said. “He (Soderberg) isn’t alone in wanting a bounce-back year. We’re just trying to get as much offensive production as we can from our forwards. But I will say this: I’m cautiously optimistic about our forward group.”

Said Soderberg, of last season: “We have to forget about it, but at the same time, we have a lot of the same players so we have to learn from it for sure. We can’t just pretend it didn’t happen. But we have some very good young players. Jost is going to be one of the better players in the league in a few years. But, as veterans, we have to lead the way better than we did last year.”

NOTEBOOK

  • Rookie winger A.J. Greer is going through a league-mandated concussion protocol, following a recent fight in a game. Bednar said Greer is participating in some off-ice activities, but it’s anyone’s guess when he might be cleared for action again.
  • Goalie Jonathan Bernier tweaked a groin muscle in Monday’s preseason game in Dallas and did not practice. Bednar hopes he’ll be back on the ice in a day or two.
  • The Avs will play their final preseason game at T-Mobile Arena against the Vegas Golden Knights Thursday. Soderberg and Gabriel Bourque are the likely scratches at forward for the Avs.
  • Jared Cowen’s time with the Avs came to an end. Signed to a professional tryout contract, the Avs released him after practice Wednesday.

Jackson’s Presentation banner 728
Adrian Dater

Adrian Dater is a staff writer with BSNDenver. He started his journalism career way, way back in 1988 as a proofreader with the Concord Monitor as a kid out of college (Keene State College), and has wended its way since with a 25-year stop at The Denver Post, 20 of which were spent as the beat writer of the Colorado Avalanche, from its inception in 1995. Adrian has also worked as a primary hockey writer with Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, The Hockey News, Versus.com and Bleacher Report. He is the author of seven sports books, including the best-selling "Blood Feud: Colorado Avalanche v. Detroit Red Wings, The Inside Story of Pro Sports' Nastiest and Best Rivalry of Its Era" and "100 Things Avalanche Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die", which was published in October, 2016.

  • Max Power

    Dater, I owe you an apology. I was not excited when you first got here and I wasnt hopeful you’d do anything but continue to be a disappointment in your passion and knowledge of this Avalanche team. but I have to admit when I’m wrong, and I was. through your writings here and your contribution on the podcast I’ve really seen some growth in your ability to put out quality content and really seeing a different Adrian Dater then from the past. kudos to you sir and I look forward to reading and listening to your work.

    having said that, you’re absolutely correct in your assertion that Soderberg is rockin the bandana over the face and robbing this team of money. he was good as a second line center in his first year here but man did this guy pull a Duchene and quit on this team. I never saw the same Soderberg when Bednar took over and I get the sense he’s not a fan of the coach, and I think that seems obvious with this “For sure, I could make 40-50 points again. But it’s up to coach where he wants me in the lineup.” Soderberg…if that were true why did you absolutely disappear and show a lack of passion for the game, your team or yourself for that matter. I”m convinced he’s going to be part of a season or deadline deal for someone or a contract the team wants to get rid of or out from under. granted a team taking 5mil in return would be difficult but stranger things have happened. maybe the Coyotes could use another expensive center?

    • cerveau

      Can the Avs buy out part of his contract? The other team gets him for a reasonable price, say $2.5M, and we save a little cap space plus open up a spot for one of our young guns?

      • Max Power

        thats a really really good idea. maybe keep some of Soda’s money in a trade and make it more enticing for a team to take him in a trade. that would certainly make sense. what would be ideal is if a team gets a rash of injuries and needs center help sometime during the season. especially early on when teams consider those early points most important. then combine that desperation with your idea of taking back some salary and bam, he’s out the door. well heres to hoping cause I think that would be the optimal situation to get out of this contract. I also see Comeau in a similar situation where he could provide a team a good veteran presence. although man, teams will be looking at that drop pass on a breakaway last year and that would scare me if I was a team looking at a playoff push :p

        • cerveau

          I doubt any teams hoping for the playoffs will consider trading for Comeau. The Avs will have to throw him in as part of some other trade to a team in rebuild mode… “Hey, we’ll trade you XYZ promising guy like Nantel or Warsofski… but you gotta take Comeau as well… as a veteran presence!!!”

      • Adrian Dater

        They can buy him out, but the window for this season is closed. Next summer, if he has another year like this past one, I would say a buyout is a high probability

        • cerveau

          Hi Dater. Please educate us fans that don’t have /10’th the knowledge base you do. Why is the window closed? Is this an NHL rule or standard contractual practice or what?
          Thx!

          • Adrian Dater

            The buyout window is from June 15-30, or 48 hours after the final game of the Stanley Cup, whichever is latest.

    • Chucklez

      Preach brother! It is amazing to me that Soderberg has the stones to demand too 6 ice time after a 14 point year. Ummm Carl, maybe you need to act like you care for once! Hit somebody and score a few points before you complain next time, ok?

    • Adrian Dater

      Max, thanks, that is very kind and I do appreciate it. While I am sorry I was a disappointment in my knowledge and passion before, the fact is I was pretty burned out my last two or three years at the Post and I’m sure it showed. I haven’t talked a lot about my end there, because, well, it wouldn’t do me much good probably and most people probably don’t care. A lot of it got twisted around and some stuff was just flat out wrong, but the bottom line is I was due for a humbling and a change and now that I have more time and distance to look at things from that perspective, I realize that, in the world’s mysterious way, it probably happened for a reason and I actually feel better about myself than I did then. I had some fairly serious problems that needed attention, and thanks to the help of others, most especially my wife and immediate family, I was able to address them. Twenty straight years of travel – over a million miles in the air and about 1,600 nights in hotels – caught up to me in some undesirable ways. I become kind of an a-hole, a person I didn’t like anymore and that manifested itself in several different ways. So why do this kind of stuff again? Well, good question. But I think the time away helped me realize that, yes, I really did like writing about this stuff and this team, and that I have some talent at it when I’m focused on things and that I can be as good or better at it than I once was. We’ll see anyway. I don’t look at anything much more than a day at a time anymore (geez, I sound like a player giving cliches now), and for this day, this moment, I feel like my old, better self again. I hope to reward anyone who clicks on my stories for their time.

      • Anthony Hill

        This is really a cool reply Adrian. I read you for years on the Post and was sad and a bit frustrated to see you go. Reading above, it sounds like it was a trial that needed to happen. I’m really happy to hear whatever you had to go through is behind you, and you’re through it all as a better human. Selfishly, I really like reading your stuff, so imagine how exciting it is to hear your favorite avs reporting is back and better! So for what its worth, thank you for coming back, thank you for writing, and keep it up!

        • Adrian Dater

          Thanks. One of my old faults was an arrogance of self. I am confident in myself again, but not arrogant. There’s a difference, and I used to have that, but lost it. I feel like I have it back, and for that I’m very grateful. But, apart from me, I really hope I can make a difference for others who fell into my kind of trap. I think I’ve done that some already, but need to keep doing a LOT more.

          • Av-a-dabba-doo

            Hi, Mr. Dater (“Adrian”, if you’ll alllow). I have been enjoying your writing on BSNDenver (Avalanche) and purchased one of your books. Is there any way to email you? I had a question, but cannot find an email info for you (only AJ’s). Thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask. Thx.

      • Marcus Octavian

        I did not frequent this site very much prior to your addition, Adrian. And fair or not I judged BSN Avalanche as a bit amateur. I am absolutely thrilled with not only the depth of written content being provided but also the open, fun nature of the podcasts. I have followed your writing from your time at the DP and while I’m not as familiar with the other staff, the whole team is obviously knowledgeable and passionate. It’s awesome to see you in a mentorship role and having a positive impact on the future of Avalanche reporters. All of that being said, BSN Denver really stands out as an attractive and professional media outlet for Colorado Avalanche coverage. I’m happy for all of you!

        • Adrian Dater

          Marcus, thanks. I can’t tell you what a difference it’s made to me to be around all these young, hungry kids at BSN. I’m truly the old guy at the place, but it’s made me feel young again. Just about everyone is 30 and under, but just about everyone has a solid college/journalism background and trust me when I tell you they are hungry. That’s exactly the kind of kid I used to be, coming out of college with a journalism degree in 1988. Anything I can do to help them is great, but they’ve actually done a lot to help me, and they probably don’t even know it. I just hope to keep up!

  • Ace O’Dale

    Wow! More than just the team is doing the rebuild this season. Looking forward to the new material from BSN.

    • Adrian Dater

      True. But, I will say this: I spent two years as the national NHL writer for Bleacher Report. But, I take it, not many knew that lol?

      • I knew that, but I prefer you here for my own selfish reasons.

  • Last season Grigorenko was my guy I was watching closely and rooting for because I knew it was his last chance.

    This year it’s Soderberg. I really genuinely hope he has a great season, puts up solid 2nd/3rd line points, plays well on the penalty kill and earns himself some powerplay time. If he has another bad season I think that could be the end of not only his time with the Avs but his time in the NHL. He’d probably get a PTO at best next season if the Avs buy him out and I would not be shocked if he ended up in Europe.

    All the people talking about trading him are smoking something I want to try. No NHL team will want him unless he plays better, and if he plays better the Avs might be better off keeping him, since in *any* trade at this point they’d have to retain a bunch of salary.

    So here’s hoping he has a great season because the alternatives are all bad for both Soderberg and for the Avs.

    • bob_w

      I agree. Players get advice from friends, family, their agent and their own egos about how good they are and what kind of minutes they should have. If Soderberg wants a future with the Avs or for that matter anywhere in the NHL he absolutely must take full advantage of whatever minutes he gets this season and play his hardest and most focused hockey. The line he plays on will be determined by that, the coach and possibly injuries. The only one of those factors that he can control is how he performs when called upon.

  • Lefseeter

    Can someone explain to me why a fourth liner can’t score goals? Is it lack of offensive zone face-offs? total ice time? Are the deployed to stay deep in their own zone and check the opposing team’s top line rather than attack?