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European Prospect Report: Mattias Norlinder returns to Frölunda

The defenceman is back in the SHL, while Frederik Dichow is shutting things down one tier lower.

Tommy Holl

Mattias Norlinder, Frölunda HC (Loan from Montreal Canadiens), SHL Sweden

The return to Sweden finally happened for Norlinder, whose outspoken interview with the Gothenburg Post caused some uproar in Montreal. Norlinder will look to use the Spengler Cup, if it goes ahead, to solidify his spot on the team. Frölunda has signed Andreas Borgman to a long-term contract, but Norlinder’s spot on the power play and the second pairing should not be in jeopardy.

Frederik Dichow, Kristianstad IK, HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden

The Danish goalkeeper cemented his place as the primary goalkeeper for his team this weekend as he played back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday against Västervik. The Gnome (a nickname he likes and has adopted himself) posted a 50-save shutout on Friday night and deservedly received the ‘Man of the Match’ award. Kristianstad’s had four expected goals allowed in that first game, and it was all Dichow to shut them down. The defence gave up high-danger chances and got pushed into the crease.

His second shutout of the week was a calmer affair. He had to make a penalty-shot save during the game, but on the whole the harder task was to stay awake and keep focused rather than being fully in the zone as the night before.

Dichow told us that he stopped the penalty shot with his right leg:

Swedish Ice Hockey Association

Dichow now leads HockeyAllsvenskan in save percentage, goals-against average, and is third in shutouts.

I was able to see Dichow play live from the stands for the first time in almost two years, and he has evolved enormously. Mainly, he has taken steps with regard to the mental aspect. Before, he would lash out toward his defence, himself, or the refs, now he seems to channel that temperament into a better focus, something that has benefited his play. Another thing that stood out was how he helps his defence by running things much like a football goalie, by pointing toward forwards and verbally encouraging his defenders to pick them up and be aware where the threats are.

Being as big as Dichow is makes it extra interesting when he starts hot. The opposing players will feel the pressure and start aiming further away from the goalie, thereby hitting the posts more often, or missing the net completely.

We will have more on Dichow later today.

Oliver Kapanen, KalPa, Liiga, Finland

Kapanen is preparing for the World Junior Championship with the Finnish team and should be a shoo-in for the tournament that starts over Christman, even if Finland still has to announce the final roster.

Jacob Olofsson, Timrå IK, SHL, Sweden

It was an international break because of the Channel One Cup in Saint Petersburg, Russia for the top leagues in Europe, therefore no games for Olofsson.

Alexander Gordin, HC Sochi, KHL, Russia

Gordin was also off with the Channel One Cup ongoing.

Dmitry Kostenko, Khimik, VHL, Russia

Still no games for Kostenko who has been out injured for more that a month.