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European Prospect Report: Mattias Norlinder’s future uncertain after cancelled season

Norlinder was fighting for promotion to the SHL when the playoffs were brought to a sudden halt by coronavirus concerns.

2019 NHL Scouting Combine Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

Mattias Norlinder, Modo, HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden

The first step toward securing promotion to the SHL from HockeyAllsvenskan was a playoff between the local rivals Björklöven and Modo in a best-of-five series. The winner would advance to play the bottom team of the SHL in a best-of-seven series.

Only two games were played before Sweden stopped play due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The series was tied at one game apiece. Modo had won the opening away game in the second overtime period, in which Norlinder finished that game with 36:12 of ice time, scoring the game-tying goal in the third period.

Norlinder led his team in time on ice, and had the third-most minutes of all skaters in the game. He also played on the second power-play unit and got to take added responsibility defensively as one of his teammates got a match penalty.

In the second game — a game played without spectators — Björklöven leveled the series with a 3-0 win. Norlinder was once more the go-to defender for Coach Hellkvist and had a game-high 23:43 of ice time. He finished the game with a -2 rating.

With the professional clubs asking the Swedish Ice Hockey Association to cancel the rest of the season, the series came to a halt, meaning no team will be relegated or promoted in Sweden this season. Modo, Björklöven, and some of the other teams are looking into challenging this ruling, but it seems that the season really is finished.

As reported previously by Eyes On The Prize, Norlinder has a verbal agreement with Frölunda HC to play hockey in the SHL if Modo doesn’t earn a promotion. One will have to wait and see the outcome of the challenge from the teams fighting for promotion when the season was cancelled, but at the moment it does seem that Norlinder will play in Gothenburg for Frölunda next season.

Alexander Romanov, CSKA, KHL, Russia

Romanov’s CSKA played no games last week. While the KHL playoffs are supposed to continue, they were thrown into disarray when Jokerit (from Finland) decided to quit the quarterfinal series against SKA Saint Petersburg, before it even started, in accordance with the Finnish government’s health recommendations.

It is unclear how this will affect the playoffs. CSKA is slated to play Dinamo Moscow for the other semifinal spot.

Frederik Dichow, Malmö U20, SuperElite / Malmö Redhawks SHL, Sweden

With the season having come to a close in Sweden, it will benefit Dichow in his recovery from a concussion. There will be no rush to recover in order to play in the playoffs.

Dichow’s contract runs out at the official end of the season, and it remains to be seen what Malmö will offer the goaltender for next year.

Arsen Khisamutdinov, Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (KHL) / CSK VVS Samara (VHL), Russia

Khisamutdinov’s season has ended. We await an announcement on where The Firestarter will play next year.

Jesse Ylönen, Lahti Pelicans, Liiga, Finland/Laval Rocket, AHL, Canada

Ylönen is in North America preparing to finish the season with the Laval Rocket in AHL, if the season restarts.

Jacob Olofsson, Skellefteå AIK, SHL, Sweden

Olofsson is out for the season with a shoulder injury that required surgery.

Joni Ikonen, KalPa, Liiga, Finland

Ikonen is also out for the season with rehab training in order to get back to hockey next year.