Mattias Norlinder is on route to North America and Montreal in order to extend his season with the Laval Rocket and the AHL playoffs. This was first reported by La Presse’s Mathias Brunet and since has been confirmed by the team.
Mattias Norlinder se joindra au Rocket pour les séries éliminatoires. Il rejoindra l'équipe pour la séance d'entraînement prévue demain à 10h30 à la Place Bell.— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) May 2, 2022
Norlinder will join the Rocket for the playoffs. He will meet the team for tomorrow's practice at 10:30 a.m. pic.twitter.com/VVpUyl5kTa
Norlinder has had a tough season that started with the Champions Hockey League for Frölunda in August, before traveling to rookie camp and pre-season with the Montreal Canadiens. Norlinder was injured in a preseason game, and spent his rehab in Montreal. He was assigned to a conditioning stint in AHL before making his NHL debut in Montreal against the Pittsburgh Penguins. His first NHL point, an assist, came against Pittsburgh nine days later.
The Swedish defenceman was critical of how the team handled his assignment to the AHL as the team tried to keep him in Montreal as long as possible. It is a testament the new regime that Norlinder decided to come over to help the Rocket in the playoffs.
Fellow Swede Emil Heineman is also in Montreal working his way back from an upper-body injury. He would also be eligible for the playoffs should he recover in time and officially sign his AHL contract. He has a NHL contract starting next season.
Norlinder played six games for the Rocket this season, scoring a goal and adding an assist before returning to Sweden. He also played six NHL games with the Canadiens, earning one assist. Norlinder struggled in the SHL, with injuries as well as limited ice-time, but regained his confidence in the playoffs with Frölunda, where he had six points in 10 games (all assists).
The Swede will join a loaded defence that includes Xavier Ouellet, Corey Schueneman, Louie Belpedio, and Sami Niku. Belpedio left Saturday’s regular season finale and his status may be in doubt.
The Rocket’s best-of-five series with the Syracuse Crunch starts Friday and Saturday with Games 1 and 2. Game 3 is scheduled for Thursday night at Place Bell. It will be the first home playoff game since the team moved to Quebec.