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Alexander Zetterberg Scouting Report: 2024 NHL Draft #14

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 2024 NHL Entry Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow Ben Kerr, 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 Alexander Zetterberg Scouting Report.

Every draft board has its differences. Some will have prospects far higher than others, and some will have others lower than most. For us on Last Word On Hockey, Alexander Zetterberg is one of our reaches. His season in Sweden was strong, with 58 points in 45 games in the J20 Nationell Swedish junior hockey league. He also had a decent showing in the under-18 Men’s World Hockey Championships. In four games he had five points, helping Sweden take the bronze medal.

So why is he so low on most rankings? Well, firstly he is undersized by quite a lot at just 5’8″. That automatically brings a lot of warning lights to NHL teams. Similar stuff is heard in terms of players like Lane Hutson, Cole Caufield, and Alex DeBrincat when they were drafted. All players who have shown that size is far from everything, and Alexander Zetterberg could very well be the next in line to prove that theory correct.

Alexander Zetterberg 2024 NHL Draft Scouting Report

Forward — shoots Right
Born April 27th, 2006 — Sundsvall, Sweden
Height 5’8″ — Weight 159 lbs [172 cm / 72 kg]


Another reason for some of the criticism and low rankings of Alexander Zetterberg is his skating or rather his lack of speed. He is not nearly as fast or strong as a skater as someone like Lane Hutson. It’s just decent and fine. It’s not quite enough to beat players for the puck or get past his direct man in on the rush. This is also something that makes him slightly more of a passenger in terms of the transitional game where he lacks the skating to truly be a factor. His edges, however, are strong, and he is very swift and nimble on his feet noticeable when changing direction.

However, he does have a strong hockey IQ which means his movement is excellent. This covers a lot of the gap his average skating would have created since he doesn’t need to cover the same ground due to his positioning. He also works hard and keeps his feet moving, which makes him a great energy skater, who always looks for ways to get open and make a play.

Offensive Game

With the main weaknesses of Alexander Zetterberg out of the way, what is left is a player with great upside. Especially offensively where he can be a truly special playmaker. His vision and ability to see the ice at a high level make him a lethal passer. While his overall passing accuracy still needs fine-tuning, along with his tendency to force a pass into an area, he is both able and creative enough to create a chance out of nothing.

He also has a very strong and accurate shot, which can challenge goalies from anywhere. Especially on the one-timer, which he often will use due to his great positioning. In contrast, compared to goal scorers like Cole Eiserman in the draft, Zetterberg is a less traditional undersized goal scorer. He will get a good chunk of his goals through his high hockey sense and being in the right place at the right time. For example, he can score with both tips and rebounds as his smaller size is a bit misleading. Zetterberg has a lot of strength and balance in front of the net. That means he will find ways to be first to find loose puck for easy goals.

Defensive game

Alexander Zetterberg is an offensively-minded player, so the defensive game is far from perfect. He once again is quite good positionally due to his hockey sense. He also shares the trait with many other Swedes where he has a great work rate in his own zone. However, he does need time to grow both literally and figuratively to be a factor in his own zone. He needs to work on his ability to get stronger to give him a chance against the larger opposition he will face at the professional level. The rest should follow with more experience as he learns to refine his 200-foot game.

Projection and Comparison

A couple of decades ago Alexander Zetterberg, despite the positives in his scouting report, would have struggled to ever see the NHL. However, in the modern game, he could easily end up as a key piece of an NHL team’s top six. What he lacks in size and speed he makes up for in smarts. A skill that is getting more common in modern-day hockey, where the brain will often defeat the brawn. And while Zetterberg’s size more than likely will cause him to drop during the draft, it wouldn’t be a shock if he suddenly becomes the steal of the 2024 NHL Entry Draft once it is all said and done. He has a lot to like about him offensively and his attitude is great.

As a comparison we only need to look back a few years, as he both in size and style is very similar to Logan Stankoven, who just made his NHL debut with the Dallas Stars.

Main photo credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports


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