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2023 Draft Scouting Report #56: Zeb Forsfjall

Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day our LWOS Prospects Writers will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2023 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow Ben Kerr, Kyle Pereira and Frederik Frandson on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! Today we bring you our Zeb Forsfjall Scouting Report. 

Zeb Forsfjall Scouting Report

Forsfjall, born on January 16th, 2005, in Skelleftea, Sweden, is a forward playing in the Skelleftea organization in Sweden. The young center stands at 5’9” and 168 pounds, making him undersized at this stage of his career. This season, he played across two J18 leagues (two games, one goal total), and spent a good amount of time at both the J20 level and the SHL level. At the J20 level, he produced eight goals and 14 assists for 22 points in 34 games. Meanwhile, he would slot into 17 SHL games, scoring a goal. 

With the time up in the SHL, on top of solid production in the J20 level, Forsfjall has seen some high rankings However, the small stature has knocked him down a lot of boards as well. He could go anywhere from the third round and on. That includes being placed 77th by Recruit Scouting, 83rd by Dobber Prospects, 90th by FloHockey, 91st by The Hockey News, 104th by Draft Prospects, Hockey, 109th by FCHockey, 130th by Daily Faceoff, 133rd by Elite Prospects, and 141st by McKeen’s Hockey. 

Zeb Forsfjall Deep Dive

Forsfjall is liked by some, but is not seen as a top-100 prospect in this class. He’s small, and while his production wasn’t bad, it wasn’t an eye-popping number either at the J20 level. While he did get a handful of games at the SHL level, it clearly wasn’t enough to be given more love. But here’s why he could be a steal. 

Zeb Forsfjall’s Skating 

Forsfjall is not a bad skater, but he’s mostly only above average. His speed is decent, and he’s got solid acceleration. That said, he can hit his top speed faster than most, allowing him to win a lot of races to loose pucks. On top of that, he has a strong ability to get himself out of tighter situations with strong edge work and being fluid and unpredictable. 

The biggest issue with Forsfjall’s skating is the mechanics. He has a choppy stride once he hits his top speed, which limits the speed he could reach. Another problem is he does not get low in his stance, which takes away potential power in his strides, and makes him easier to knock off balance. 

Offensive Abilities

Forsfjall is a very creative offensive zone player, with good hands and efficient passing ability. He may not attack the slot very often, usually keeping to the outside and maintaining offensive pressure. However, when he does attack the slot area, he hits on them very often. Add to that his creative puck skills, which allows him to create space for himself and his linemates, and you have a player who could be a strong playmaking presence. 

As for his shot, he does not take very many. He is much more of a pass-first style player, electing to hand the puck off to a teammate rather than take it himself. When he does let off some shots, his accuracy is decent. But, it’s his power that is lacking considerably. He is undersized, and part of that is his strength, so as he bulks up his shot could improve. Forsfjall already has a decent play reading ability that allows him to sneak into passing lanes in good spots for his teammates to set him up. Putting on muscle and taking more risks as a passer could go a long way in helping him reach a higher potential. 

Zeb Forsfjall’s Transitional Abilities

Forsfjall is a decent transitional player. He is certainly not the most involved, nor do his teammates look to him to lead the charge. He also isn’t the most efficient, as his skating limits him in these spots. But there is some untapped potential. 

As mentioned before, he has good edges and acceleration. Once he works on the mechanical aspects of his stride, his speed will improve. With those improvements to his stride, he’ll have a lower centre of gravity, helping him to maintain balance through contact. Adding more muscle to his frame will also give him a better chance to impact the game through the neutral zone. 

Forsfjall’s Defensive Zone Play

Forsfjall is a ball of energy. If he can just bulk up and get better skating, he could be a real pain to play against. He forechecks incredibly well, racing in and wreaking havoc on his opponents. He also backchecks very well, racing back to disrupt zone entry attempts for his opponents. 

In the defensive end, he is constantly moving his feet, looking to apply pressure to the puck carrier. He possesses an active stick alongside that effort, which makes him all the more dangerous if he gets close. Not only that, but he displays a strong positional awareness, not getting too far out of position for the sake of hounding the puck. He can be caught cheating up ice at times, but thankfully for his future coaches, that is not the case. 

Zeb Forsfjall’s Potential

Forsfjall is a bundle of energy. He has a high potential in the offensive end if he can garner more confidence and be more consistent. Playing at a faster pace is easier said than done, but if he can accomplish that, his playmaking abilities could come alive. As for his transitional game, he has the basics. It’s refining his stride; that will unlock the ability to push up ice effectively. And, he is excellent in his own end, knowing when to attack and be a nuisance, but not get carried away. 

The hard work, defensive acumen and limited mistakes in his offensive game, he looks like a strong fit on a third line. However, his skating, inconsistent offence, slower pace, and smaller stature will make it difficult to truly project. For now, he looks like a forward who can play on a third line, with the ability to play higher in a lineup if his offensive game comes together. 

NHL Comparison 

Zeb Forsfjall is reminiscent of Yanni Gourde, based on style and not a projection of his skills. Gourde is a bundle of energy, with a rock solid defensive acumen in his game. Gourde is a quick skater, and has decent transitional abilities. Not to mention, he can flash his offensive game. Now that he was given a larger and more consistent role with the Seattle Kraken in recent seasons, his offensive game has been more noticeable. But with Tampa Bay, he was used as more of a match-up guy, taking tough matchups and wreaking havoc all over the ice. Gourde struggled with offensive consistency at times as well. 

That being said, Forsfjall is a guy who may just need more confidence and a more prominent role to truly come into his own. Of course, he has to get stronger and work on his shot. But if he can do those things, while maintaining that motor and defensive game, he could be used the way Gourde was in Tampa Bay. 

Raw stats via Elite Prospects

Main Photo: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports


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