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Mattias Norlinder, the year of the last chance in 23-24?
I never start my texts that way.

But for this occasion, I thought it would be useful to take a little trip down memory lane. I’ll let you watch the next four sequences before continuing:

In the videos above, we see a young Mattias Norlinder demonstrating the quality of his skills in Sweden. Remember, at the time…

More importantly, he was said to have the potential to become a steal as he was selected 64th overall in the 2019 draft.

He was so dominant that Per Hagglund, an experienced Swedish journalist, said out loud that he saw the Tricolore prospect becoming the next Nicklas Lidstrom.

Quite simply, the expectations placed on Norlinder were enormous:

In five years, he’ll have won a Norris Trophy. – Pet Hagglund

It’s now 2023 and Mattias Norlinder has just six short games of NHL experience.

He spent all of last season in Laval, where he didn’t break a sweat with the Rocket. He collected 19 points (two goals) in 67 games during the 2022-2023 campaign, a “decent” production for a 22-year-old defenseman (he celebrated his 23rd birthday last April)…

But it’s the same old story we’ve been hearing about him over the past year. Norlinder’s defensive game leaves something to be desired, and he’s not the most reliable guy in his territory.

There’s more to a young player’s success in the NHL than points and offensive play. Norlinder has learned this the hard way… Especially as we no longer see the offensive flashes we did when he played in Sweden.

Mattias Norlinder is still young, but time could soon be running out. I don’t think anyone sees him getting a regular spot in the CH lineup in 2023-2024, and congestion on the Rocket blue line could hurt him.

Basically, Norlinder will have to prove this season that he has what it takes to make the jump to the best field hockey league on the planet. It’s going to be tough, with the youngsters pushing forward in Laval and Montreal alike…

And this could be his last chance with the Flanelle organization, should he find himself out of contract next summer (RFA).

If Mattias Norlinder ever wants to wear a Tricolore uniform, it may be now or never. Still, it’s further proof that we shouldn’t necessarily create huge expectations when talking about a young prospect who’s just been drafted…

And it also shows that you have to be patient with young players.

In gossip

– Ah, no. Tough break for Jake Guentzel and the Penguins.

– A big challenge awaits Canada in the semi-finals.

– Sports card fans, this message is for you:

– What a shame.

– The playoffs are coming in the MLB.

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