As the dog days of summer continue to drag on, with every passing day, it’s one step closer to the 2022-23 NHL season. While just about everyone has been enjoying themselves away from the rink, that was not the case for some of the Boston Bruins prospects. Three prospects just competed at the rescheduled 2022 World Junior Championships in Edmonton at Rogers Place, home of the Edmonton Oilers.
Related: Boston Bruins Top 10 Prospects – 2022 Offseason
It was a mixed bag of results for the Bruins prospects and in this edition of the Bruins Prospects Report, we will focus on the results from the 2022 WJC for the Black and Gold prospects.
Lysell Helps Sweden Win Bronze
Sweden captured the Bronze Medal Saturday with a 3-1 win over Czechia, with help from Fabian Lysell. In a scoreless game in the first period, Lysell scored when he collected a loose puck, skated into the Czechia end, and scored on a wrap-around. He scored his first goal of the tournament in a 6-0 win over Austria in group play.
Lysell, who missed Sweden’s first two games of the tournament in December before it was canceled after a COVID-19 outbreak, had a better run this time around. He finished the tournament with two goals and four assists in seven games for Sweden and showcased his skill on the biggest stage for prospects. Coming off a strong 2021-22 season with the Vancouver Giants in the Western Hockey League (WHL), he skipped the Bruins Developmental Camp in July at Warrior Ice Arena to get ready for the WJC.
After taking the next month off, Lysell will return to Boston to participate in the Prospects Challenge with other Bruins prospects in Buffalo in mid-September, before getting ready for training camp. Where Lysell ends up this season remains to be seen, either in Boston or with the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League (AHL).
Duran and USA Stunned in Quarterfinals
If there was one Bruins prospect that raised his value this summer, it was Riley Duran. In the first attempt of the 2022 WJC back in December, Duran did not make the Team USA roster, but this time around, he found himself on the roster. He was on the fourth line on the right wing with Anaheim Ducks prospects Sasha Pastujov on the left wing and Detroit Red Wings prospect Red Savage at center.
Duran, selected 182nd in the sixth round of the 2020 Entry Draft, scored a goal in Team USA’s tournament-opening 5-1 win over Germany. He tallied his second goal in Game 2 against Switzerland in a 7-1 victory, before picking up two assists in a 7-0 win over Austria. He was held scoreless in the final preliminary round game against Lysell and Sweden in a 3-2 win that clinched first place in Group B.
After rolling through the preliminary round, Team USA was bounced in stunning fashion in the quarterfinals with a 4-2 loss to Czechia. Duran did not register a point in the game, but it was a stunning ending for not only Duran, but his teammates, who failed to defend their 2021 World Junior Championship title. For the tournament, Duran had two goals and three assists, which is not too bad playing on the fourth line and providing depth.
Duran will return to Providence College in the fall for his sophomore season and he will try to duplicate his rookie season. In 38 games for the Friars, he had 10 goals and nine assists after scoring eight goals and finishing with 11 assists for the Youngstown Phantoms in the USHL in 47 games in 2020-21.
Locmelis Helps Latvia Make History
The biggest success story of the 2022 WJC was Latvia, which managed to reach the quarterfinals in a tournament they were only in because Russia and Belarus were expelled. Bruins 2022 draftee Dans Locmelis and his Latvia teammates took full advantage of their opportunity and gained valuable experience leading into the 2023 WJC in December in Canada by winning their first ever game to advance to the quarterfinals with a 5-2 win over Czechia.
Locmelis, drafted 119th overall in the fourth round in Montreal in July, scored Latvia’s first goal on the power play in a 3-2 loss to Slovakia on Aug. 12. Two days later, he failed to score in just under 15 minutes of time on ice in a 5-2 victory over Czechia to advance Latvia to the quarterfinals. In a 2-1 loss to Sweden in the quarterfinals, where he assisted on the only Latvia goal of the game, but it was a big step for Locmelis and his teammates.
“It means a lot. It shows that we’re going the right way with our young players. It inspires the young kids and shows them we can play against the best.”Dans Locmelis (from ‘Former Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy checks in from Las Vegas,’ The Boston Globe, Aug. 21, 2022)
Despite just getting a goal and an assist in five games, it was an impressive tournament for Locmelis who was a shifty forward that was not afraid of any 1-on-1 battles, got to the front of the net, and showed off his hard shot. He will play for Youngstown in the USHL this season in his first full season of North American hockey.
Related: Bruins’ Lysell Can Add Missing Offensive Elements to NHL Lineup
Overall, it was a successful 2022 WJC for Lysell, Duran, and Locemils. Now after some much-earned time off, they will get ready for their 2022-23 seasons with their respective teams. Duran will head to Providence, Locmelis to Youngstown, and Lysell’s destination is one that will be worth keeping an eye on in the weeks leading up to the new season with the only question being, does he begin the season in Boston or with the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League (AHL)?