The New Jersey Devils have sent another prospect overseas, loaning Fabian Zetterlund to HC Vita Hasten of the Swedish second league. Zetterlund is heading into the second year of his entry-level contract and coming off his first year of professional hockey in North America. He can be recalled in time for the 2020-21 NHL season.
Just 21, Zetterlund was a third-round pick (63rd overall) by the Devils in 2017 and spent the 2019-20 season with the Binghamton Devils of the AHL. In 46 games there the forward recorded 19 points, a relatively disappointing output that continued a pattern to this point in his career.
Though an excellent skater, Zetterlund has not been able to translate his speed and work ethic into much offense at almost any level, only really impressing during the 2016-17 junior season in Sweden. Even at the World Juniors in 2019 where he was a returning player and wearing an “A” as an alternate captain, Zetterlund was held completely scoreless. In his 66 games at the SHL level he had just 11 points, though he was much younger than most of the competition.
While there is a place in the NHL for hard-working forwards who are excellent on the forecheck, Zetterlund will have to start seeing some offensive improvement if he’s ever to really push for a spot with New Jersey. Perhaps a return to the Allsvenskan, a lower-tiered league than he is used to, will spark his scoring touch and get him back on the right development path.