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European Prospect Report: Mattias Norlinder avoids serious knee injury in SHL

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Jacob Olofsson is growing in confidence while back in a centre role, and Jesse Ylönen is making the most of his situation.

Tommy Holl TT

Jesse Ylönen, Pelicans [Loan], Liiga, Finland

Liiga played its first games after a two-week reset, and Ylönen didn’t hesitate to get on the scoreboard. After a counting error by the TPS defence, he found himself alone in front of the net, and with a sharp move he deked the goalie and earned an open net (he also drew a slashing penalty with the move) for an easy tap-in.

Ylönen is still on the third line and getting low minutes, but he is performing and is now generating better scoring opportunities than he did at the start of the season. His confidence is clearly on the way up. We wait to see what happens with the AHL season, and if Ylönen will play out the season in Europe or cross the Atlantic to join the Laval Rocket.

Mattias Norlinder, Frölunda, SHL, Sweden

Norlinder started well in the week’s first game against Djurgården. In the 5-1 loss he was -1, but when the game hung in the balance he made a beeline for the puck and took complete control of the attack. It really should have led to an equalizer for Frölunda, but his teammate didn’t finish well enough.

Unfortunately for Canadiens fans, Norlinder limped off after he had played two minutes against Örebro after losing his edge. While many will focus on how he hit the board and the fact that he did get up by himself, the scary bit is how his knee gets twisted in the fall.

From what I have heard, its not an MCL/ACL injury, but rather a more minor knee injury that might keep Norlinder out of the lineup after the Christmas break.

“It could have been worse,” said Norlinder to Henrik Lehman, who runs the site Rakapuckar.com. However, Frölunda hasn’t released an official statement bout the injury.

Jacob Olofsson, Timrå IK, HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden

No points for Olofsson this week, but his usage increases every game. He also keeps his strong faceoff performance going, winning slightly over 60 percent of his draws. He looks confident in his centre position.

As a centre, I think he is a bit too high up on the forecheck from time to time. I understand his coach will want to use Olofsson’s big frame to pin the defenders down, but it’s something only a strong team would get away with in a weaker league.

The fact that Olofsson is gaining confidence and can play in all situations is good, even if it’s tough getting power-play time as the first unit stays out for almost the full two minutes.

The thing to look for is consistency; in the faceoffs and his overall play. With a first unit that is the best in the league, I can’t foresee him getting a chance to play on it, therefore it’s in the small details, and the tougher games (against teams like Modo and Björklöven), that we will have to judge Olofsson.

Alexander Gordin, SKA-1946 Saint Petersburg, MHL, Russia

It was another three-point week for the Striker from Saint Petersburg. The skating is still a problem, or rather the lack of skating, but when he is on target he usually hits it. Looking at past season performances, he has had a shooting percentage over 15% in all but one, declining in the playoffs. Currently Gordin has a shooting percentage of 18.3%.

This week’s goal was a power-play goal, however, eight of Gordin’s goals have come during five-on-five play, so he isn’t only a power-play sniper.

Jan Myšák, HC Litvinov, Extraliga, Czech Republic

World Junior Championship preparation.

Josh Brook, Krefeld Pinguine [Loan], DEL, Germany

The Canadian defender is not on the Krefeld Pinguine roster on the team’s website, and it seems that he has left Germany to prepare for the upcoming season in North America. He finished his German excursion with one assist in two games, and over 20 minutes average time on ice.

While he and the Canadiens would have preferred a few more games to get in shape, the two he did play should have benefited him in his preparation for the upcoming season.

Otto Leskinen, KalPa [Loan], Liiga, Finland

Season paused.

Joni Ikonen, Ilves, Liiga Finland

Injured, return pending.