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Nation Network 2017 Prospect Profiles: #58 – Fabian Zetterlund

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. Zetterlund was most recently on display at the U18’s in Slovakia, where he was touted as one of Sweden’s most dangerous forwards, and in that regard he did not disappoint.

His stock could be rising as we head towards the Entry Draft at the end of June, so take the opportunity to get on the Zetterlund train now. He checks in at number 58 on our Top 100.

Bio:

  • Age: 17 – August 25th, 1999
  • Birthplace: Karlstad, SWE
  • Frame: 5’11” / 196 lbs
  • Position: Center/Left Wing
  • Handedness: Right
  • Draft Year Team: Farjestad BK
  • Accomplishments/Awards: U17 WHC Bronze Medal (15/16); TV-Pucken Gold Medal, TV-Pucken Best Forward (14/15)

Stats

Career

Cohort Based (pGPS)

As is typically the case with European plays splitting their seasons, Zetterlund has a higher expected likelihood of success and higher expect value in the professional ranks of the SHL than the junior ranks of the SuperElit league, despite that fact that he scored zero points in the former and 36 points in the latter. This should come as no surprise, since playing professional hockey at 17 or 18 is a great sign of future success, and even a minimum amount of points can be a precursor to success.

Take Zetterlund’s SHL cohort for example. There are 14 players in it, 5 of which played at least 200 NHL games (and another played 173). Of those five successful players, one got 5 points in the SHL in his matched season, two got 3 points, one got 1 point, and one got zero. The player with zero points by the way was Washington Capitals centre Nicklas Backstrom. He was in his draft-minus-one season at the time, but given Zetterlund’s late August birthday, he was only two and a half months younger than Zetterlund is now. Backstrom has since gone on to score 728 points in 734 NHL games.

That certainly isn’t Zetterlund’s destiny – we’re dealing with probabilities here after all – but it’s an encouraging sign. Other members of his cohort include Alex Steen and Frans Nielsen. Nielsen, who the system pegged as a second line NHL forward, may be the most accurate statistical comparable if Zetterlund reaches his potential, as pGPS’s weighted line assignment pegs Zetterlund as a second liner himself.

Scouts

From Corey Pronman of ESPN (Snippet only – Full article behind paywall)

Zetterlund was consistently solid throughout the season at the junior and international levels. A skilled offensive player, he shows above-average puck skills, vision and finishing ability. When he gets open space, he’s often making a good play, and he can operate as a quarterback on the power play.

Our Take

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.

During his time in the SHL, he put just seven shots on net in 14 games, but when you consider that he averaged just 3:23 of ice time per game (with no special teams time), his shots per hour rate of 8.87 was actually one of the best in the league among junior-aged players, trailing only Joel Eriksson Ek and Carl Grundstrom (picked 20th overall in 2015 and 57th overall in 2016 respectively) in terms of players that played at least as many games as he did.

Zetterlund exploded in the second half of the Superelit season. After scoring 3 goals and 12 points in his first 22 games, he scored 13 goals and 24 points in his final 18 games. Granted, this was after SuperElit entered the Top 10/Continuation phase of the season, and with Farjestad in the bottom group, Zetterlund was surely facing easier competition, though none of his teammates experienced quite the same jump in production as he did, and some actually performed worse.

There’s also Zetterlund’s age to consider. The Karlstad native won’t turn 18 until August 25th, making his mid-season boost at the age of 17 much less surprising. It also make his 14 game stay in the SHL all the more impressive.

Zetterlund also put a whopping 28 shots on net in seven games during the World Under-18 Championship last month, which tied for fifth in the tourament. He put just three of them in net, but it could easily have been more given how much mustard he gets on his shots, and how quickly he gets them off. The goal he scored against Canada following a brutal defensive zone turnover by Josh Brook jumps to mind in particular.

Zetterlund was a hard to miss player during the U18’s because colour commentator Craig Button (who, of course, is also TSN’s director of scouting and a noted prospect fanatic) couldn’t stop gushing about Zetterlund’s goal scoring abilities, which really put a spotlight on him.

Despite the fact that he isn’t overly large (coming in at just under 6-feet), he’s sturdily built and demonstrated some strong puck protection during the tournament – something that has improved in his game over the course of the season. Defenders whack away at him, but he uses good body position and quick hands to hold on to the puck until he can find a teammate, or curl towards the net and get a shot off. His offensive zone vision and passing aren’t nearly as polished as his shot is, but he gets by on his ability to hold on to the puck for such lengths of time.

Outside of the offensive zone, Zetterlund begins to wane a little bit. He’s eager to head in the other direction and can be caught out of position, but he becomes much more effective when he’s hunting down puck carriers instead of waiting in a rigid structure. He has an active stick that can occasionally intercept pucks and lead to breakaways, but he doesn’t have true separation speed, so his ability to turn this into a Grade A scoring chance sometimes depends on the mobility of the defencemen on the ice.

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.


 

The Canucks Army/Nation Network Top 100

#59 Alexander Chmelevski #60 Max Gildon
#61 Austen Keating #62 Adam Ruzicka
#63 – #66 #67 – #70
#71 – #75 #76 – #80
#81 – #85 #86 – #90
#91 – #95 #96 – #100