Fabian Zetterlund, Jesper Boqvist, Alexander Holtz… Who’s The Odd Man Out?

Jesper Boqvist #70 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Jesper Boqvist #70 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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As the injured New Jersey Devils forwards return to good health, there will be some interesting lineup decisions regarding the group of forwards Lindy Ruff will deploy. Among the bunch in danger of losing a starting gig; are Fabian Zetterlund, Jesper Boqvist, and Alex Holtz. All three youngsters found themselves out of the lineup at some point this season. With the return of Ondrej Palat, one of them will return to familiar territory in the press box. Here’s a case for why each player could stick in the Devils lineup as the team gets healthy upfront.

New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils left wing Fabian Zetterlund (49): Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /

The Case for Fabian Zetterlund

Fabian Zetterlund, the 23-year-old Swede, endeared Devils fans early on this season as he clicked on the New Jersey top line with Nico Hischier and Tomas Tatar, providing offense and plenty of energy.

Zetterlund has since gone cold. The youngster has not found the back of the net since December 3rd against the Flyers, a 13-game goal drought. Lindy Ruff decided to scratch Zetterlund on Thursday night against the St. Louis Blues as Palat returned to the lineup.

Ruff was vocal on the decision to scratch Zetterlund, saying post-game, “either you’ve got to produce, or you’ve got to be a guy that the other team hates playing against.” Ruff also mentioned, “Let’s look at the numbers. It’s got to be better than that.”

On the season, Zetterlund has 5 goals and 9 assists, equalling 14 points. Zetterlund will respond well to the healthy scratch, which will ignite a fire in him. Expect good things from Zetterlund moving forward. Zetterlund’s offensive capabilities are promising enough to keep him in the lineup not only in the near future but as a key piece in the long-term success of the Devils. The message from Coach Ruff may also encourage the youngster to polish other aspects of his game, making him tougher to play against.