Canadiens prospect compared to John Klingberg

Published August 6, 2021 at 9:27 PM

Barely 21 years old, Habs prospect Mattias Norlinder has big ambitions for the upcoming season. The young defenseman's goal is simple: to play in the NHL.

"I'm super excited. I don't know what to expect. I'm going to go out there and do what I have to do to make a name for myself," he said a few weeks before the Habs training camp.

Norlinder will certainly have a chance to seize after Marc Bergevin's comments about him, he mentioned that the youngster is ready to make the jump to North America. With the Canadiens shortage of defensemen, adding a mobile player like the Swede would certainly not hurt.

"Let's just say I have a better chance than I did a month ago," he said.

"That's my number one goal in going there. Then we'll see if I go back to Sweden or if I stay there," he added.

The president of his team in Sweden, Christian Lechtaler, assures that the young man will play in Montreal if he finds a position, he who has not finished his contract with Frolunda HC.

"If he shows enough good things and if he makes a place for himself with the Canadiens, he will definitely play there," said President Christian Lechtaler.

Having never set foot in America, the former third round pick will certainly have to get used to the North American style of play, especially with the style of ice.

"This will be my first time playing on a small rink. I hope I don't collide with anyone while chasing the puck", said the man with 10 points this season.

When Lechtaler talks about Norlinder, an NHL defenseman immediately comes to mind, Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg. Not a bad comparison!

"John Klingberg. We worked with him and he is now one of the best defensemen in the NHL. Mattias has the same background he had when he was here."

Known as a mobile defenseman who can make a quick rebound, Norlinder has a lot of room for improvement before he becomes a top 4 defenseman in the NHL. However, he has a quality that few possess: the ability to single-handedly change the game.

"On the ice, he can be the one who can be a game changer. That's his strong point," he notes with pride. "Every night something special happens in his head. You either have it or you don't," said the President.

Lechtaler feels that the mental side of his game is where he needs to improve. The consistency in his game will have to be greater, but at only 21 years old, is that a problem? Absolutely not.

"He needs to learn to focus better and develop the mental side of the game. At home and abroad, at the beginning and at the end of a game. He needs to gain experience and play a lot to become a dominant player!"

According to the youngster, his style of play is a little more like Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar. At least, he would like his style of play to be more like the one who was a Norris Trophy finalist this year.

"I watch montages of his games in my individual practices. I'd like to play like him."

One thing is certain, a spot is available on the Canadiens third defense pairing. Would a pairing of two left-handed players Romanov and Norlinder be an option?

To be continued...
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