Defenseman Brian Zanetti was selected in the fourth round of the 2021 NHL draft. The Philadelphia Flyers saw that he had good defensive instincts and some offensive ability, for sure. Zanetti was going to have to work on other facets of his game, and that could take some time.
Like most prospects, he was never going to be an instant success.
He is a good skater who plays with an edge. When he played over in Switzerland, that’s where the offensive part of his game shined. In his last season playing for Lugano U20, he had 29 points in 41 games.
Zanetti gets good minutes that lead to opportunities with the Peterborough Petes. This season, he’s averaging 16:29 a game, but his power-play time and shots are down, so that’s one reason his points are off last season’s pace, when he had 26 points in 56 games.
Again, he’s not an offensive dynamo, but he can get points. He’s going to be a two-way defenseman. A bottom-pair player if he makes it to the NHL someday.
In a game against the Oshawa Generals, Zanetti made a quick-strike pass to J.R. Avon, who quickly deposited the goal. That’s a combination that will be playing for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in a few years, probably on the power play, too.
Zanetti, 19, played in the replayed 2021-22 U20 World Junior Championship last August. He’s represented Switzerland at other tournaments throughout his short career, but none as important as this one. Zanetti had two points in four games, a respectable performance.
Brian Zanetti's point shot is tipped by Simon Knak and Switzerland ties the game 1-1! #WorldJuniors
— Elite Prospects (@eliteprospects) August 17, 2022
I expect Zanetti to play in his second World Juniors later in December. He will have a big role on the team as a returning player. From the Philadelphia Flyers’ perspective, this is the kind of big-tournament experience they want their players to get. This helps elevate their game. Many times right after the tournament, the prospects return to their teams with more confidence. The World Juniors bump is real.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) August 10, 2022
Zanetti isn’t afraid to pinch in and show off his wrist shot. He can fire the puck from the slot like a forward at times.
I like his hockey I.Q. and willingness to be coached.
Prospects expert Russ Cohen can be heard on SiriusXM NHL Network Radio.