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Report: Mattias Norlinder to sign with Frölunda if Modo doesn’t qualify for the SHL

The Habs prospect has reached a verbal agreement with Frölunda, reports a local Swedish newspaper.

Patrik Bexell

A big question concerning Mattias Norlinder’s future development has been what the young defender would do if Modo HC failed to qualify for the top tier of Swedish hockey next season. Norlinder’s new contract with Modo, signed just before the World Junior Championships, contains an out clause addressing this very situation.

Now, NSD, a local newspaper serving the Norrland region of Sweden, is reporting that the Montreal Canadiens prospect has turned down an offer from Luleå Hockey, the best team in the 2019-20 SHL regular season, in favour of a verbal agreement to sign with Frölunda HC (in Swedish, paywall) if Modo does not secure promotion.

Norlinder has made a strong impression with Modo in the HockeyAllsvenskan this year, with 18 points (seven goals and 11 assists) in 34 games while averaging 18:08 TOI. Modo is currently facing Björklöven in a best-of-five series with the winner playing the worst SHL team for a spot in the top league. The series, currently suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, is tied through two games, with Norlinder contributing a goal and playing a whopping average of 29:57 per match (Game 1 went to overtime).

Fans of European hockey, the Montreal Canadiens, and Eyes on the Prize will be no strangers to Frölunda HC. Having already sent players like Rasmus Dahlin, Artturi Lehkonen and Andreas Johnsson to the NHL, the club is known for its rigorous training program and outstanding track record of player development, something that likely influenced Norlinder’s decision.

Frölunda is led by Roger Rönnberg, one of the best coaches in Europe, who recently sat down with Eyes on the Prize to discuss his coaching philosophy, talent development, and Frölunda’s goal of becoming the team that young prospects think can get them closest to the NHL.