Montreal Canadiens: Mattias Norlinder's Value Plummeting This Season

Sep 30, 2023; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens defenseman Mattias Norlinder
Sep 30, 2023; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens defenseman Mattias Norlinder / David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens did not have a lot of surprises at their training camp ahead of this season.

Like most teams, they pretty much could have picked their roster at the start of training camp and they would have ended up with the same lineup as they did at the end. Fans are always excited when training camp begins but are pretty tired of preseason games after one or two and have to suffer through six or seven of them each year.

The one player that nearly forced the team's hand into a roster spot this season was Mattias Norlinder. Him and Logan Mailloux stuck around training camp a little longer than everyone else, but ultimately both were sent back to the Laval Rocket.

We all knew that was coming for Mailloux who was making his pro debut and needed the development time at the pro level. Norlinder however, was an experienced pro and suddenly looked like he was ready to take on an NHL role.

Ultimately, the 23 year old would be sent back to the Rocket, where he played 67 games last season and had two goals and 19 points. It was his fourth pro season after three years of professional hockey in Swden, and it was hoped he would take a big step forward this season after a terrific training camp with the Canadiens.

Unfortunately, Norlinder has struggled mightily this season with the Rocket. After showing some offensive ability last season, he has just one goal and three points in 26 games this year and has been having a difficult time in his own end as well. His plus/minus of -17 shows he is on the ice for more goals against than goals for on an almost nightly basis.

With so many great options on the left side of the Canadiens blue line already, and Lane Hutson coming soon while Adam Engstrom could be making his way from Sweden to potentially leapfrog Norlinder, this is bad news for the smooth skating defender.

Unless things turn around in the second half of the season, this could be the end of the line for Norlinder with the Canadiens. He is a restricted free agent at season's end but may not get a qualifying offer if he is 24 years old and 7th or 8th on the left side of the defense depth chart.