With their first third round selection of the day, the New Jersey Devils drafted center and right winger Fabian Zetterlund. Zetterlund primarily played with Farjestad’s under-20 team in the SuperElit league, but he did also appear for Farjestad in the Swedish Hockey League as well as represent Sweden at the international level.
Who is Fabian Zetterlund?
According to EliteProspects, Zetterlund officially stands at 5’11” and 196 pounds. While not particularly tall, he’s certainly not undersized at that weight. He was born on August 25, 1999, which makes him one of the younger prospects in this draft class. He’ll turn 18 this summer. His shot is right handed, so there’s a potential future as a right winger. Curiously, he’s listed as only having a junior contract; I wonder if that he means he can come over soon? I don’t know.
Per his numbers, Zetterlund was a standout producer in the SuperElit league this year with 36 points in 40 games. He did not produce - or play - all that much in 14 appearances with Farjestad’s first team (less than 4 minutes per game on average!), though. Zetterlund did play for Sweden in this year’s World U-18 tournament, putting up three goals and two assists in seven games.
The most impressive number may be that shot total. More on that in the next section:
What Others Say About Fabian Zetterlund
Jeremy Davis has a comprehensive profile on Zetterlund, which was posted at Leafs Nation. Here’s a number of snippets from that profile:
Fabian Zetterlund is a Swedish sniper who’s quite young for his draft class and has improved a lot just over the course of this season. His shot is his calling card, and he gets it off a lot, boasting impressive shot rates in each of the SHL, SuperElit and international tournaments.
Fabian Zetterlund is first and foremost a shooter. He put 143 shots on net in 40 games this season Farjestad J20 in the SuperElit league, and a further nine shots on net in two playoff games. The regular season total was second highest on his team, while his shots per game rate (3.58) was actually the best on the squad. His playoff shots total led the team as well.
All in all, Zetterlund is an intriguing offensive prospect with a laser of a shot, and he’s young enough that it’s safe to expect him to continue to grow and progress in a lot of areas. He needs some coaching, some bulking up, and some work on his speed, but he has some tools that could make him a scorer at the professional level.
I’m always in favor of offensive prospects that are prolific at what they do best. It appears Zetterlund’s a shooter and he’s very good at getting that shot off and making that shot work. And it’s a little refreshing to have a prospect where I don’t have to write, “He needs to gain muscle/put on weight.” Based on Davis’ profile, though, that alone is not going to be enough. Zetterlund would need to work on his overall game, specifically his skating. If that doesn’t improve, well, that’s going to limit what he can do at the next level.
For an additional, pithier opinion, The Draft Analyst, Steve Kournianos, had this short description of Zetterlund in his seven round mock draft in May:
Zetterlund is a pure goal scorer with a deadly shot — possibly one of the best among his draft peers. He contributed 16 points over 20 combined international games, including five points in seven contests at the recent U18 world championship. He maintains a low center of gravity and on the forecheck keeps his stick positioned properly. This kid might not get many Selke votes but he makes you pay for mistakes.
Again, Zetterlund’s shot is the highlight. That last sentence suggest his defensive game could be better - and it may be limited. But it’s all about the shot for Zetterlund.
Zetterlund was a part of Sweden’s under-18 team at the World U-18 Championships. Mitch Brown at Recrutes had a post looking at a number of players from that team. Here’s what he wrote about Zetterlund:
Zetterlund led Sweden in goals (3) and points (5), and was arguably their best forward. He demonstrated a high-end shot numerous times, consisting of a quick release, plenty of power, and pinpoint accuracy. While he lacks one-on-one moves, his reaches top-speed quickly, and uses his body effectively. He connected with a handful of difficult passes, but otherwise was constantly looking to shoot.
In the defensive zone, Zetterlund isn’t much of a battler. He flies the zone often, which generated a handful of opportunities, also resulted in him being out position. He’s also a straight-line forechecker with a dash of physicality. He’s not the most purely skilled player on the team, but does enough well that he could be a nice gamble in the mid rounds come draft day.
This is in line with what Kournianos wrote in his short summary and Davis’ more in-depth profile. The defensive zone issues appear to be a concern based on what Brown saw at the international level. Taking on players could also be an area of improvement. But, again, the shot is real, his size isn’t an issue, and he’s got some quickness. It is a plus to know that Brown thought Zetterlund was the best forward at the tourney for Sweden given the other prospective players on that roster.
A Little Video
There are a number of short clips of Zetterlund highlights. Like this one goal and one assist with Farjestad’s junior team against Mora in January:
There’s a longer set of highlights from this year’s World U-18 tournament, where Zetterlund was a standout forward. This is more worth your time as there are more highlights and it’s against some of the better prospects that are being picked today.
My Initial Reaction to the Pick
I do like the pick in that it’s another offensive weapon in a pipeline that lacked enough of them for a while. That said, I’m concerned that the same pipeline remains really thin on defensemen. I understand that the Devils may not like the d-men prospects in these spots enough to pass on offensive players that were productive in their respective systems. I wonder if that’s why they made the Mirco Mueller trade. That said, there are plenty of picks left to take some fliers on some more defensive players. We shall see as the draft rolls on. (Update: The Devils took a defender with their second third round pick, so there you are.)
Now it’s your turn. What do you think about the pick? Do you like Fabian Zetterlund? What do you hope for him? Please leave your answers in the comments and please vote in our poll. Thank you for reading.
The New Jersey Devils drafted Fabian Zetterlund at 63rd overall (3rd Rd). What do you think about the pick?
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