SUNRISE, Fla. — Carl Soderberg returned to taking contact Wednesday at BB&T Center as he tries to work his way back from an ankle injury suffered in the preseason. He has missed all five games this season due to the injury, but he was wearing a Merlot sweater Wednesday as the fourth line’s extra forward and participated fully in battle drills.
Following the practice, Claude Julien  said that Soderberg is a game or two away from being ready to play in a game for the B’s.
The forward lines for practice were as follows, with Brad Marchand  remaining on the third one:
Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Smith – Bergeron – Eriksson
Marchand – Kelly – Caron
Paille (Soderberg) – Campbell – Thornton
Soderberg had won the third line left wing job in training camp, as the team was set to go with a third line of Chris Kelly  between Soderberg and Reilly Smith, but Caron’s improved play seems to have left Soderberg without a spot in the lineup. With that being said, Julien said he’d still like to find a way to get Soderberg into the lineup once he’s ready.
“I think it’s important that we get players in,” Julien said. “He had a really good camp; it’s unfortunate he got hurt then. When the time comes, I’m going to have to make that decision. If I can’t take anybody out, I can’t, but I’d certainly like to get him in there if I could.”
Julien did not seem to think the team would send Soderberg to the AHL for a conditioning assignment.
As for the player himself, Soderberg said that he feels he could get back in a game “very soon.” He said the biggest concern with getting ready to go was taking contact, which he’s now taken.
Said Soderberg: “You always need one or a couple of practices before you get into a game so it’s all set when you [play].”