We find the probability distribution of the fluctuating parameters of a soliton propagating through a medium with additive noise. Our method is a modification of the instanton formalism (method of optimal fluctuation) based on a saddle-point approximation in the path integral. We first solve consistently a fundamental problem of soliton propagation within the framework of noisy nonlinear Schrödinger equation. We then consider model modifications due to in-line (filtering, amplitude and phase modulation) control. It is examined how control elements change the error probability in optical soliton transmission. Even though a weak noise is considered, we are interested here in probabilities of error-causing large fluctuations which are beyond perturbation theory. We describe in detail a new phenomenon of soliton collapse that occurs under the combined action of noise, filtering and amplitude modulation.