Bruins’ Fabian Lysell Has a Great Opportunity at 2023 WJC

Since being drafted 21st overall in the first round of the 2021 Entry Draft, Fabian Lysell has been at the top of the Boston Bruins prospect list, and rightfully so. Let’s not disregard the fact the Bruins’ prospects pool is one of the worst in the NHL, but there is no debating who the Black and Gold’s top prospect is (from ‘Boston Bruins rank No. 32 in NHL Pipeline Rankings for 2022,’ The Athletic, Aug. 22, 2022).

Last season in the Western Hockey League (WHL) with the Vancouver Giants, he had 22 goals and 40 assists in 53 regular season games before having a memorable playoff run. In 12 postseason games, he had four goals, but racked up 17 assists, including a record five in a win over the Everett Silvertips. 

Lysell has spent this 2022-23 season so far with the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League (AHL) with visions of making his way to Boston at some point. Given how well the Bruins are playing currently, there is no need to rush him up for the sake of bringing him up. On Dec. 7, Sweden announced their list of players that will report to training camp ahead of the 2023 World Junior Championships, which will be held from Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Moncton, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Lysell getting a second chance to compete at the WJC is a no-brainer for the Bruins.

Lysell’s 2022-23 Season 

Lysell had his moments in training camp and in the preseason when he played under first-year coach Jim Montgomery. The 19-year-old’s skill was on display, including his quick shot and he was even given the opportunity to skate beside Patrice Bergeron during some of the preseason games and the captain was impressed with the youngster. Boston, however, did make the right move sending him to Providence and he has not disappointed in his time down there after leaving an impression in training camp.

“Definitely a great talent with a lot of speed and a smart player,” said Bergeron. “It’s good to be on the ice with him and get to know him.”

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He has five goals and nine assists in 17 games for coach Ryan Mougenel, despite missing some time recently with an illness. This past week, he got back on his skates doing drills in practice to build up his strength after the illness. Allowing Lysell to step away from the AHL to play in the 2023 WJC is a good move for him. He will miss a handful of Providence games, but it will be worth it for him to get to play on the top stage for prospects.

Lysell Deserves Second World Junior Championships Opportunity 

Lysell attend the 2022 WJC last December, but missed the first game with an illness before the tournament was canceled after three teams had to forfeit games because of COVID-19. Citing the health of the players and coaches, the committee canceled the rest of the tournament, which was rescheduled for August in Edmonton.

Fabian Lysell Boston Bruins
Fabian Lysell, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Healthy, Lysell put on a show for Sweden at the tournament. In seven games, he had two goals and four assists and helped Sweden win the Bronze Medal with a 3-1 win over Czechia when he scored the first goal of the game on a highlight reel wrap-around. Is his game perfect? No, however, getting on the stage of the World Junior Championships can only help him improve in some areas, including his back-checking and his play in his defensive zone. Each year, the WJC is a strong tournament that is a good place for prospects to work on their development. This presents the perfect opportunity for Lysell to do that without the Bruins worrying about him being affected in the NHL.

Bruins Letting Lysell Attend WJC Is a No-Brainer

Lysell has nothing to lose and everything to gain by playing in the upcoming 2023 World Junior Championships in Moncton and Halifax. It’s a highly-competitive tournament that will allow him an opportunity to win a Gold Medal for Sweden, which will bring a highly-offensive squad to the WJC. It is the perfect scenario for Lysell and the Bruins. 

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