Carl Soderberg’s New Fantasy Value

by MD on June 26, 2015

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Colorado has signed Carl Soderberg, but his fantasy value will take a hit.

I wrote about it in some length in this morning’s ramblings. More specifically, I wrote about why Ryan O’Reilly was a good, not great player, and why Colorado trading for the rights to Carl Soderberg probably meant the end of O’Reilly’s tenure in Colorado.

If it wasn’t obvious before, it is now, as Soderberg has signed a five year contract with Colorado, with the average annual value carrying a $4.75M cap hit. From General Fanager, it’s an eclectic mix around Soderberg, as there are names like Stephen Weiss, Sam Gagner, and Bryan Little in his range. Soderberg will be playing his Age 30 season next year.

Here’s the thing that took me by surprise about Soderberg: what does he do that John Mitchell can’t do similarly well? Mitchell has two more years left at $1.8-million per season. Sure, maybe Soderberg racks up an extra 5-10 points a year (the official difference in points per 60 minutes over their respective previous three seasons is about 0.3, or in a 1000 minute season at five-on-five, or five points). I had written in a Ramblings weeks ago that Mitchell could be a passable third line centre. They just gave Mitchell’s job to Soderberg, at an extra $4-million a season for five points.

I’m not saying that Soderberg isn’t an upgrade on Mitchell, but it’s a matter of what Soderberg costs, the fact that they just signed another 30+ player, and that Soderberg has been sheltered in the defensive juggernaut that is the Boston Bruins over the last three seasons. I know that Soderberg has better underlying numbers as well over those years, but let’s see how he does playing on a team that allows shots and scoring chances almost at will.

This is what I mean:

  • Over the last two seasons, Soderberg has played a little over 2016 minutes at five-on-five. His CorsiFor-percentage when playing with Loui Eriksson is 53.4-percent (in over 1293 minutes together).
  • Without Eriksson on his line, Soderberg’s possession numbers plummet to 49.4-percent (in just over 723 minutes). Without Soderberg, Eriksson actually improves to 58.9-percent (in over 562 minutes).
  • In fact, the only regular line mates that did worse away from Soderberg were Chris Kelly and and Dennis Seidenberg. Guys like Eriksson and Dougie Hamilton fared much better without him on their line (presumably because it meant they were with Patrice Bergeron or David Krejci).

Why this is important is that Soderberg doesn’t drive possession without very good players. He’ll slot in the third line centre role for Colorado behind Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon, and the Avalanche don’t have much for depth on the wing. Jarome Iginla, Gabriel Landeskog, and Alex Tanguay will all be in the top-four mix. I would be on Jamie McGinn as well. That leaves Soderberg with wingers like Cody McLeod and Dennis Everberg. Yes there could be trades, a rookie breakout from somewhere, etc. All I’m saying is right now, Soderberg has no one to play with on the third line.

This is important for fantasy because Soderberg had relevance in Boston (for both season-long and in daily fantasy). He averaged 46 points over the last two seasons, and a plus-7 rating. Those aren’t eye-popping by any stretch, but serviceable at the end of the bench in smaller leagues. Going to Colorado, yeesh.

Playing on a Boston team behind two elite (or near-elite) centres, Soderberg was getting some good minutes with good line mates (sort of). He still was only on the ice for about the same rate of shot attempts as guys like Antoine Vermette and Jordan Staal. When thinking about fantasy relevant forwards, those aren’t exciting names.

Factoring in the wingers he’ll get, Soderberg’s fantasy relevance is lost. He could dip below 40 points and with that terrible defensive team around him, a minus player. I don’t think this trade and sign has helped Soderberg’s fantasy value at all, and in fact, probably hurt it. 

Keep it locked to Dobber Hockey today, as there will be analysis and coverage of all the trades, signings (probably fewer of those), and the Draft.