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Habs tell other teams they don’t want to trade Mattias Norlinder
Credit: Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire

It’s no secret that the Habs have a surplus of defensemen in their organization. In an ideal world, they’d trade them for forwards, which they need a lot more of.

It also explains why, in an ideal world, the Habs would draft a forward… andtrade up if Cayden Lindstrom (and Ivan Demidov) are no longer available at No. 5.

The question now is which defenseman will move. We know that Arber Xhekaj is of interest to a number of teams, including the Flames, but the Habs have no intention of sending him elsewhere.

However, in his article of the day, David Pagnotta(The Fourth Period) cleaned things up a bit. In fact, according to him, the club has no desire to trade Xhekaj, Kaiden Guhle, Logan Mailloux, David Reinbacher and Lane Hutson… but in a second group of “defensemen the Habs don’t want to trade but who seem less untouchable”, he places Jordan Harris, Jayden Struble, Justin Barron, Adam Engström and… Mattias Norlinder.

Yes, the same Mattias Norlinder who was no longer in Laval’s plans at the end of the season and who was thought destined to return to Europe this summer.

In reality, when you look at Pagnotta’s categories, it makes sense. The top five guys are only going to leave if the Habs get their prize, and the second group is clearly inferior to the first. That said, seeing Norlinder among the guys that, as Pagnotta says, “the Habs don’t want to trade” is surprising.

Does Kent Hughes still hold out hope that the 24-year-old defenseman will eventually establish himself in the NHL? He may have had a good training camp just under a year ago, but the months that followed were appalling, and he was in the stands in Laval at the end of the season after collecting nine points in 50 games (with a differential of -14).

I still think Norlinder is destined to return to Europe in a few weeks’ time, as he’ll be a restricted free agent this summer. On the other hand, if Pagnotta is right, you have to wonder if the club doesn’t want to give him one last chance next year.

Because, quite frankly, Norlinder must have no value whatsoever on the trade market. If a team gives anything for his services, I hope the Habs jump at the chance.

We’ll have to wait and see, but if Pagnotta is to be believed, the Habs don’t seem to have completely given up on Norlinder yet. I find that hard to believe… but he must have some reason for naming Norlinder in particular (rather than Johnathan Kovacevic or William Trudeau, for example), after all.

In bursts

– Gabriel Landeskog and Valeri Nichushkin are at the heart of it all, of course.

– Sweden continues its good tournament with a win over France.

– Of course.


– What a story.

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