5 Questions in 5 Minutes with Devils forward Fabian Zetterlund

Fabian Zetterlund #49 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Fabian Zetterlund #49 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

With just under two weeks before the New Jersey Devils begin the 2022-23 NHL season there are still a number of roster decisions that need to be sorted out. One of the biggest ones is whether or not forward Fabian Zetterlund will be on the roster on opening night. Make no mistake about it, Zetterlund will play in the NHL this season at some point.

“I just try to play my game, do my job and take it shift-by-shift,” said the 23-year-old Swede following his first action of the preseason. “Hopefully it works out.”

He was supposed to make his preseason debut in Montreal, but visa issues prevented that from happening. So Zetterlund ended up in the lineup for the preseason home opener against the New York Islanders and recorded an assist in the win. “I felt pretty good,” Zetterlund told Pucks and Pitchforks following his team’s 4-1 triumph over the Islanders. “It was fun to be back, and we got the win too. I was ready yesterday too, but it didn’t work out. So they told me to play today, I was ready.”

We caught up with the Devils prospect, who made his NHL debut last season and put up eight points in 14 games, following the game for five questions in five minutes. And here’s how it went.

Pucks & Pitchforks: Did you work on anything specifically this off-season?

Fabian Zetterlund: Just be better than I was last year. The exact things I did well last year – just keep doing it and get better in those areas. I feel excellent, and confident out there.

P&P: After making your NHL debut last season – and doing very well – in addition to an excellent AHL season, did you notice a difference in your confidence this summer?

FZ: Of course. It feels great. I feel confident on the ice when the puck is on my stick and I’ve been able to create a lot of offensive chances when I’ve been out there. I just feel good overall and want to continue doing the same things while getting better.

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P&P: In the AHL you were coached by New Jersey Devils legend in Sergei Brylin. What do you think his impact will be on the group up here in the NHL after his promotion to Lindy Ruff’s staff?

FZ: For sure he will bring his smarts to the staff. I don’t know many people who have the hockey experiences that he’s had. He knows exactly what he’s doing and talking about, and when he’s asking you to do something, it’s always because it’s the right play.

P&P: Who are some of the players who you would say influence your game, or that you like to watch play?

FZ: I watch (Alex) Ovechkin a lot. When I was younger I would always wear no. 8 because of him. I watch his game a lot, I try to play the same style in my game, but as I get older I realize I just need to find my own style. Now I’m here, and I feel really comfortable and confident in the player I am.

Next. Projecting Devils Opening Night Roster. dark

P&P: What was your biggest takeaway or lessons learned in your first NHL games last season?

FZ: Just adjusting to and knowing what the pace of the game is like; I showed (myself) that I could play at this level. I’m just trying to do the same thing this year.