Zeb Forsfjall – 2023 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Zeb Forsfjall

2022-23 Team: Skellefteå AIK (SHL)
Date of Birth: Jan. 6, 2005
Place of Birth: Skellefteå, Sweden
Height: 5-foot-9, Weight: 168 pounds
Shoots: Left
Position: Center
NHL Draft Eligibility: First-Year Eligible


After starting the season as one of the names to watch, Zeb Forsfjall has fallen through the cracks. He has, by no means, had a bad season – in 34 games with Skellefteå AIK J20, he scored eight goals and 22 points and scored a goal in his 17 Swedish Hockey League (SHL) appearances, only one of nine U18 players to do so this season. But after watching the dominant performances by Leo Carlsson, who’s a lock to go top-five, and the gifted offensive defenceman Axel Sandin Pellikka, he’s failed to stand out, allowing several others to pass by him in the draft rankings.

Related: The Hockey Writers’ 2023 NHL Draft Guide

But at the 2023 U18 World Junior Championship, Forsfjall took the opportunity to re-assert himself as a top prospect heading into this summer’s draft. In Sweden’s first game against the Canadians, which they won handily 8-0, he scored a goal and registered two assists. The next day, he added two more assists against the Slovaks, giving him five points in just two games. He slowed down after that but finished the tournament over a point-per-game with two goals and eight points in seven contests, tying him for fourth on the team in scoring.

This isn’t the first time Forsfjall has stepped up when the spotlight was on. He’s shown a knack for performing internationally, especially this season. He finished third among Swedes at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup with two goals and five points, helping Sweden capture the silver medal, and was tied for first at the U19 World Junior A Challenge with four points in six games, where Sweden won a bronze medal. Last season, he represented Sweden on the U17 team, where his three goals and seven points were the third-highest total.

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One reason Forsfjall hasn’t jumped off the scoresheet is his ability to play a well-rounded, two-way game. He’s adept at being in the right place at the right time, moving into spaces where he knows he’ll be more helpful than if he were to follow the play. Because he isn’t the biggest player on the ice, positioning is one of his best weapons, and he uses it well.

Another reason is that Forsfjall is a great complementary player. Sandin Pellikka, who took home the IIHF’s Directorate Award for Best Defenceman and was named to the media’s All-Star team, teamed up with Forsfjall on six of his 11 points, half of which were initiated by the undersized center. Arguably no one clicked quite as well as the two draft-eligible players, as the two could cover the other’s job whenever it suited them. Sure, it helps the pair have played together for over four years, but not everyone can play alongside the best, and Forsfjall has shown that he certainly can keep pace with the top players of the 2023 NHL Draft class.

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Zeb Forsfjall – NHL Draft Projection

Although he’s quick on his skates and is always moving, Forsfjall’s stride isn’t at an elite level, nor is his shot, and when playing against bigger, tougher competition in the SHL, he was far less noticeable due to his diminutive size. But his intelligence and creativity are right up there with the best, making him an intriguing target on day two of the draft. However, despite his skill, his size will be seen as a detriment. I wonder if he follows a similar path to Zion Nybeck, a highly-rated prospect that fell to the fourth round in 2020 due to his 5-foot-8 frame.


“Forsfjall found a place high on The Hockey News’ pre-season NHL draft list and has split time between Skelleftea in the SHL and their J20 roster where he serves as the captain. Forsfjall is only 5-foot-9 but plays a solid two-way game and is an excellent distributor of the puck, finding seams to generate offence. He was noticeable down the middle for Sweden at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and will almost certainly go off the board in the top three rounds of the NHL draft.” – Ian Kennedy, The Hockey News

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“Zeb was Sweden’s top center for the [2022 Hlinka Gretzky Tournament] and did an excellent job at his two-way play. He was fast on his feet and maintained a quick first step the entire tournament, utilizing his edges and ability to quickly change speed frequently. He was an excellent puck carrier and distributor (see video on his three assists), for Sweden and did very well at finding the best options moving into high chance areas and feeding them the puck. He showed no fear when attacking the net or the puck and was rewarded with two goals. Defensively Zeb played with his head up and did very well to pressure the puck carrier and cause turnovers. I feel due to his size he may be looked over (insert height joke here), but don’t count him out. He could very well be a second-round choice in the draft.” – Matt Hnatiuk, Draft Prospects


  • Puckhandling
  • Two-way sense
  • Maturity
  • Hard-worker

Under Construction – Improvements to Make

  • Building strength
  • Skating stride
  • Aggressiveness

NHL Potential

Forsfjall projects to be a middle-six, two-way forward who can fit into any team’s power play and penalty kill unit. The ideal comparison would be Philip Danault in that he can be relied on for 50 points in a season but is the most useful on the defensive side of things. It will take him a while to reach that, though – three seasons at the very least – so some risk is involved with this pick.

Risk-Reward Potential

Risk – 4/5, Reward – 3/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential

Offence – 6/10, Defense – 8/10

Zeb Forsfjall Statistics