Sodermania was stirred up again last night, with the New England Hockey Journal’s Kirk Luedeke reporting that the Bruins had reached a three-year deal with the mysterious Swedish forward. Luedeke is a reputable source and a Bruins prospect expert, and it appears that his contact, in this case, was OHL scout/hockey guy Dominic Tiano.
Once the Tweets between these two started spreading, other “mainstream” media people picked up on it and ran with the story. What appears to be the case is as follows:
- The B’s and Soderberg have agreed to a deal. (Luedeke)
- Soderberg has filed his transfer card with USA Hockey. (Tiano)
- The Swedish Ice Hockey Federation has seven days to put in a refusal request, which to me seems like an “objection” of sorts. (Tiano)
According to Stanley Cup of Chowder, the B’s could offer to buy out the remainder of Soderberg’s contract with Linkopings HC, a sort-of bribe that would alleviate the financial burden Soderberg’s departure would place on LHC. It seems like that may be the route the B’s are taking, and if they do, Tiano reports that there’s really no way the SIHF would have a valid refusal.
So the B’s want Soderberg, Soderberg appears to want the NHL, Linkopings HC is OK with Soderberg moving on. What’s the problem?
The Swedish Ice Hockey Federation.
I headed to the Google Machine to look at what the Swedish press was saying about Soderberg’s departure, and Expressen.se had some info about it.
Keep in mind that, like before, I’m using Google Translate here, so take everything with a large grain of “I don’t know Swedish” salt.
Mattias Ek has an article that came out today under the (paraphrased) headline “Tug of War over Elite-Series Transfer,” with a picture of Soderberg in his LHC gear underneath.
In the article, Ek explains that there is a bit of a tug of war going on over Soderberg right now between the Bruins/NHL and the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation; to simplify things, the Bruins want Soderberg to come here (duh) and the SIHF wants him to stay and play in the upcoming World Championships (again, duh).
While LHC appears to be gracious and prepared to let Soderberg go, the SIHF isn’t so willing. The most important/interesting quote:
“There is an agreement that says that Carl can go over to the NHL if we write the papers. Then he can stand, but we are not interested in doing it.” -Tommy Boustedt, development chief for the SIHF
The article goes on to say that the negotiations are done on the NHL’s side by Bill Daly, and on the Swedish side by the SIHF vice president…Peter Forsberg (trying to confirm if it’s THAT Peter Forsberg).
Boustedt continues, “If you have rules and agreements, you follow them. Calle Jarnkrok and Jesper Fasth are over (in the NHL’s minor leagues), but they will return April 15 [for the World Championships].”
Jarnkrok is a Detroit Red Wings draft pick currently playing for Grand Rapids in the AHL, while Fasth is a New York Rangers draft pick currently skating with the Connecticut Whale, also in the AHL.
Boustedt says the SIHF owes it to their fans to ice the best team possible in the World Championships: “We have a responsibility from the Tre Kronor side towards our audience, our fans and everyone who is interested in hockey. We must have the best possible team and Carl is a very good player.”
However, Boustedt appears to be resigned to losing Soderberg as well, saying the national team will abide by whatever ruling the NHL and vice president Forsberg come up with.
I’m not sure what, exactly, Boustedt does with the national team, but he’s not the SIHF president, or vice president, or even a very large figure. What this appears to be is posturing through the media, putting pressure on Soderberg to fulfill a non-existent “obligation” to play for Sweden in the World Championships.
Boustedt, and others who feel similarly towards Soderberg, don’t really have a leg to stand on in their arguments: they basically boil down to “well he owes it to his country to play in the World Championships, and that’s that.”
So what does this all mean? It appears that there’s not much standing between Soderberg and the Bruins, provided Jeremy Jacobs opens up his wallet and buys out the remainder of Soderberg’s LHC contract. One can’t help but be a bit afraid that the media spectacle may get to Soderberg, however, and that the guilt of “abandoning his country” may prove too powerful to overcome.
It’s a cheap tactic by Boustedt and Company, but it might work. Who wants to be painted as the guy who abandoned his homeland to chase cash in North America?
One thing is for certain: it’ll be interesting to watch all of this shake out over the next week or so.