By: Mark Allred | Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277
With the first selection in the 2021 National Hockey League Entry Draft, the Boston Bruins select Fabian Lysell from Lulea of the Swedish Hockey League with the 21st pick. Those were the words from B’s General Manager Don Sweeney last night at the 2021 virtual online draft. The 18-year-old Goteborg, Sweden native, is a right-winger who had two goals and one assist in 26 games at the pro level last year (2020-21) with Lulea HF but had 3-10-13 numbers with his Frolunda HC J20 club in the same year. The 5′-10″ 175-pound right-shot forward is contracted to return to Sweden to develop another year with Lulea for the upcoming 2021/22 season.
Obviously, European Scouting Coordinator and former Bruins player PJ Axelsson along with European Scout Svenake Svensson, saw something intriguing about this player. Fabian was ranked 11th overall (average) by a dozen independent scouting services. Below is what The Draft Analyst Steve Kounianos had to say in his recent 2021 Free NHL Draft Report about the skilled Swedish forward.
Another blue-chip prospect developed by the Frolunda organization, Lysell has been considered one of Sweden’s top forward prospects for this draft for several years. Although he was traded to rival Lulea early this past season, Lysell was more than distinguishable in his 11-game with Frolunda J20, recording 13 points (3 goals, 10 assists) and a whopping 58 shots while serving as a top-line winger and fixture on the first power-play unit. His decreased role and ice time with Lulea, however, were reflected in his SHL stats – Lysell scored two goals and registered 16 shots in 26 games while playing only 7:22 a match. Lysell was Sweden’s top-line right wing at the 2021 under-18 world championship, where he tied Isak Rosen with a team-best nine points and six assists helping the Swedes win the bronze medal.
Skating and Stickhandling
Lysell is one of the fastest skaters in this draft. His first step is explosive, and it only takes him two or three strides to gain significant separation from backpressure. His speed is a constant threat to the opposition; not only because Lysell is deadly in open ice but also for his quickness to the puck in any direction while forechecking. Always starting and stopping, Lysell can cover a lot of ground in each shift and does so with an active stick. He’s a confident puck handler who will maintain control while making sharp cuts to the inside or strong dashes to the goal.
Shooting, Passing and Playmaking
Although he’s a pure winger who boasts a plus-plus shot, Lysell could be classified as a dual-threat. He’s shown a nice touch on his passes to the middle and sharp vision during either odd-man rushes or tight-quarter play along the boards. When Lysell’s on the puck, he can keep it cycling in the offensive zone for chunks at a time while causing visible confusion within the opposition. But make no mistake – Lysell’s offensive game is driven by his shoot-first mentality. He’s been used as a point man on the power play and will not hesitate to use a heavy wrister, especially when there isn’t much of a lane, to begin with.
Defense and Physicality
Lysell, as a fourth-liner in the SHL, revealed a consistent effort off the puck and was one of the more aggressive forecheckers on his team. He didn’t kill penalties at either the junior, senior, or international level but rarely came across as ineffective or confused when covering his area of responsibility in the defensive zone. Lysell in a support role can provide energy and a high battle level, which is less prevalent when tasked with the responsibilities of a topline scoring winger. He isn’t physical from a check-finishing standpoint but will not shy away from contact and compete hard along the boards.
Lysell appears to have a clear understanding of his strengths and how they relate to his role as either a checker or a scorer. He is decisive and confident on the puck but also anticipates puck travel and can be an effective forechecker. Additionally, Lysell’s vision in the offensive-zone set can be just as dangerous as his elite shot-release combination. Lysell is a high-speed decision-maker, meaning he can execute timely precision plays while operating at top speed. He can, however, be guilty of the occasional “tunnel vision” moment when he looks to create for himself when the situation required otherwise.