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European Prospect Report: Mattias Norlinder shines for a free-falling Frölunda

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Our weekly update of Montreal Canadiens prospects in Europe.

2020 IIHF World U20 Championship, quarter-finals: Sweden 5 - 0 Czech Republic Photo by Peter Kovalev\TASS via Getty Images

Mattias Norlinder, Frölunda, SHL, Sweden

On a struggling Frölunda HC, Mattias Norlinder was one of the few defenders that stood out in a positive way this past week. During Tuesday’s game against Brynäs, Norlinder had two primary assists, when he set up Jonathan Sigalet’s goals. Both assists came in the same fashion, Norlinder driving towards the net but finding an open teammate across the ice.

The second assist came as Norlinder found former Canadien prospect (in contract only) and IceCaps captain Max Friberg. It happened in a similar way as the first assist came about. However, Norlinder starts the rush deep down in his own end, he has a great outlet pass to get out of the zone, then crosses the ice to be able to follow up behind the attacker. When he gets the drop pass he finds a streaking Friberg with ease.

The goal showcases Norlinder’s strengths; his vision, passing and skating. It certainly looked like Norlinder got a a boost of confidence after his production from the early parts of the season dried up due to injuries. However, Frölunda lost the game in the last minute, and didn’t score in the other two games of the week.

Frölunda is normally in a slump around this time of the year as they put in a lot of extra training in order to peak for the playoffs. This year it seems different though as Frölunda is stubbornly trying to carry the puck out of the zone at every instance, whereas sometimes it needs to be okay to just get the puck out.

Frölunda will make the playoffs, be it in the play-in games or directly as a top six team in the SHL, but they wont participate for long unless they manage to control the play better and get out of the slump.

Jacob Olofsson, Timrå IK, HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden

Two games for the centre this week and he has been stable over two games where Timrå seems to have lost a bit of its high octane offence scoring ‘only’ six goals over two games. Winning one 3-0 and losing the other 4-3 in a shootout.

Olofsson is still successful in the face-off circle, and the third most used face-off taker on the team, second most since his arrival halfway though the season and he carries a 54% success rate at he moment.

Alexander Gordin, SKA 1946, MHL, Russia

No points for Gordin this week and his plus-minus plummets as SK is held to two goals, but only lets in four in three games, Gordin being on the ice for three goals against. However neither goal against was on Gordin.

SKA suffered two bad injuries to its forward corps one int he game against Loko, and another where the player left in an ambulance during the first game against Almaz.

We will have more in regards to Gordin this week as Gillan Kemmerer joins the podcast to speak about the Russian development structure and what she has heard from SKA in regards to Gordin.

Joni Ikonen, Ilves, Liiga, Finland

No games for Ikonen, as Ilves is playing it safe in regards to Ikonen’s previous injuries. I spoke to Ikonen on the most recent episode of ‘The Dispatch’.