By: Ryan Duffy | Follow Me On Twitter @Rduffy26
Since being drafted in the first round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, Bruins prospect Fabian Lyell has drawn much attention due to his high potential. Many scouts and analysts note Lysell as Boston’s top prospect with a high top-six ceiling. With his elite edges and blazing speed, Lysell hopefully will become an impact player on the Bruins’ forward roster. There is a chance the 19-year-old Sweden native could crack the NHL roster come October if he continues to impress in the preseason, but management may have other plans to develop him elsewhere.
In August, Lysell showcased his skillset to the hockey world during the IIHF World Junior Championships in Edmonton, Alberta. Lysell was, at times, dynamic for team Sweden, and he was perhaps their most valuable forward through the tournament. Lysell notched just under a point-per-game in the WJC with two goals and four assists in seven games en route to team Sweden’s bronze medal victory.
With Lysell’s performance in Edmonton, he’s drawn significant attention from members within the Bruins organization, including newly hired head coach Jim Montgomery. “Just dynamic, how he attacks people’s feet,” Montgomery commented. “He makes defenseman face him, which good offensive players will manipulate defensemen’s feet. He understands how to do that already, so he’s going to make plays.”
To start training camp, Lysell got to skate alongside Bruins’ captain Patrice Bergeron and newly acquired forward Pavel Zacha on the top line. This is a tactic to get Lysell exposure alongside one of the premiere two-way centers in the NHL for the past two decades in Bergeron. By allowing Lysell to play with Bergeron, Lysell will be able to learn on the fly under the captain’s wing how to play a 200-foot game and the work ethic it takes to play in the NHL.
“I think he’s like one of the best players in the world and it’s just the overall game and all the small details,” Lysell said. “Like how good he is with his stick and communicating if there’s something coming up. He will talk about it right away and you understand really quickly what he means.”
It seems that the young forward has already started dissecting Bergeron’s game and is trying to embody parts of the five-time Selke award-winning defensive skills. Not only will Lysell need to work on his defensive game before he cracks the Boston Bruins lineup, but he’ll need to start putting on muscle weight.
Lysell last season played in the WHL with the Vancouver Giants and led the team in offensive numbers with 62 points in 53 games. While his statistics were impressive in the WHL, he still needs to show he’s capable of being an impact player at the professional level before jumping straight into the NHL. While Bruins fans want to start incorporating young talent into the NHL lineup, it’s not always the best decision for the players. Many prospects need time to develop the necessary skills and size before playing full-time in the NHL. For this reason, Lysell will likely start this season with the Providence Bruins in the AHL.
This is not to say that Lysell won’t get any opportunity in the NHL this season. If Lysell shows growth in his defensive game and he’s able to put up solid numbers with the Providence Bruins, he’ll get his chance to shine in the big leagues later in the 2022-23 campaign. A perfect example of a player that played in the minors before making an impact on the Bruins’ roster is David Pastrnak.
Pastrnak appeared in 25 games in the AHL during the 2014-15 season and notched 11 goals and 17 assists before he was later called up to Boston in his rookie year. Since then, Pastrnak’s career has exploded, and he’s become one of the NHL’s most electrifying goal scorers, with a Rocket Richard trophy to his name in 2019-20. Much like Pastrnak, Lysell will have to follow a similar path before his career takes off in the NHL. While many believe Lysell should get an opportunity to play in the NHL to start this season, based on the Bruins’ track record, he will likely be sent to Providence to develop before playing in Boston’s lineup.