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European Prospect Report: Mattias Norlinder scores in his return

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Jacob Olofsson is rediscovering his offensive game, while Joni Ikonen is still yet to make his debut.

Tommy Holl TT

Mattias Norlinder, Frölunda, SHL, Sweden

After almost a month away from the competitive ice Norlinder made his return with a 10-minute showcase against Skellefteå in the SHL. There seemed to be nothing wrong as Norlinder moved around skilfully and drove play from one end of the ice to the other. He was rusty, and there was one instance where he overdid a clearance and Frölunda got stuck in their own zone.

However, Norlinder also showcased what we have come to expect from him —good offence — as he scored the only goal of the night for Frölunda.

As you can see, his knee stood up well to the quick turns as he went around the defender and then took the shot.

Unfortunately for Norlinder, his hamstring acted up after the game and he wasn’t on the roster for Frölunda’s game versus Färjestad on Saturday night. It does sound like it is more of a result from intensive training and he just needs a bit of rest rather than an actual injury, but we will have to wait and see when he is back on the ice again as the club hasn’t released a statement.

Jacob Olofsson, Timrå IK, HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden

Olofsson has found his groove since his return to Timrå. In the 16 games he has played he has five goals and one assist, while still not playing on the power play or on the top two lines.

He really needs to regain his confidence, and even when playing on the third line he seems to relish the opportunity to have the confidence of his coach again. Timrå is on top of HockeyAllsvenskan, and the team is really built to take the step up to the SHL this spring. Olofsson should be an integral part of that team.

Above: Olofsson gets the overtime winner.

Above: Olofsson scores his fifth goal of the season as he arrives in the second wave and just lifts the puck over the goalie’s glove.

Anton Rasegård and myself spoke about both Olofsson (starts at 18:40) and Norlinder (21:50) with Swedish hockey expert Uffe Bodin on Habsent Minded last week:

Joni Ikonen, Ilves, Liiga, Finland

Still no games for Ikonen in Liiga this season. It has been almost two years since he played his last competitive game on February 22, 2019, and it remains to be seen if he returns anytime soon.