NEWARK — Carl Soderberg, where are you?
According to TSN, Canada’s version of ESPN, the talented Swedish center signed a three-year Bruins contract and could be with the club as early as this weekend (the Bruins play Saturday night in Raleigh, N.C., against the Hurricanes).
As for the Bruins, they are not quite as emphatic.
Prior to game time against the Devils, general manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed via e-mail that the club and Soderberg have agreed on a contract.
“But that doesn’t mean anything yet,’’ Chiarelli wrote.
The delay in proclaiming the deal official could be that the Swedish national team has yet to give up its claim on Soderberg to play in the upcoming World Championships. Once his season ended in Sweden (last week, when Linkoping was eliminated from the playoffs), he had three conditions to satisfy to make his way to Boston: 1. negotiate a buyout with Linkoping; 2. negotiate a deal with the Bruins; 3. request a release from the national team, allowing him to skip the upcoming Worlds (May 3-19 in Stockholm and Helsinki).
Soderberg, 27, originally was drafted by St. Louis, then was traded to Boston in July 2007 for goalie Hannu Toivonen. However, he has remained in Sweden the past six seasons, the last two with Linkoping, where this year he went 31-29—60 in 54 games.
Chiarelli had said Wednesday morning, during his appearance on the “Toucher & Rich” radio show, that the club had “nothing firm or concrete yet’’ to report on the negotiations.
“We are working on it,’’ said Chiarelli.
Meanwhile, TSN reported that Soderberg will receive $600,000 (signing bonus included) this season and $1 million for each of the next two seasons.
Bruins president Cam Neely said Tuesday in an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub that he was optimistic about Soderberg joining the team. Neely referred to the 6-foot-3-inch, 210-pound Soderberg as a big body who can skate.
Although the Bruins lack depth at center with Patrice Bergeron sidelined with a concussion, Neely told the station, “I think we’d like to try him [Soderberg] on the wing first and see if he’s comfortable there.”