In a move that has been anticipated for a little while now, Habs prospect Mattias Norlinder has officially signed with Frolunda of the SHL. He receives a two-year deal that begins next season.
Norlinder was a third-round pick of the Habs last June in his second year of eligibility and his prospect status has increased since then. He spent this season with Modo (Allsvenskan) after playing the part of the second half of 2018-19 with them. He picked up 18 points in 34 games with them while taking a leave midseason to play for Sweden at the World Juniors.
However, with the playoffs in Sweden being cancelled, Norlinder’s team didn’t get a chance to qualify for promotion to the SHL. That gave him the opportunity to leave Modo to sign with a team at the top level which he has now done with Frolunda.
The two-year term is interesting as it was reasonably expected that he may just spend one year there before making the jump to North America. That said, there is a transfer agreement in place between Sweden and the NHL so the second season won’t stop the Habs from signing him if they want to. But if they decide to leave him in Sweden beyond 2020-21, at least they know he’ll be with one of the stronger programs in that league.