As the curtain closes on the 2021-22 season for most of the Boston Bruins prospects, it’s time for another Bruins Prospects Report for The Hockey Writers. In this playoff edition, we will look at last July’s first-round pick playing a big role in a historic upset and the Providence Bruins’ season came to a quick end in the 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs in the American Hockey League (AHL).
Lysell Leads Vancouver to WHL History
On May 2, the Vancouver Giants, led by Bruins 2021 first-round selection Fabian Lysell, made Western Hockey League (WHL) history when they became the first eight-seed to knock off the top-seed when they beat the Everett Silvertips, 6-3, in Game 6 to win the series 4-2. A big reason for the Giants’ upset was the play of the talented Lysell, selected 21st overall last July.
In the six games against Everett, Lysell had four goals and 11 assists, which included a five-assist performance in Game 1. He had 32 shots on the net and one power-play goal. Things have been different in the second round against the Kamloops Blazers for Lysell. He has been held pointless in the first two games against Kamloops and has been to four shots on the net, but the Bruins’ front office is well aware of how Lysell’s postseason has been going after his strong regular season.
“He’s got all kinds of skill, a great shot, great hockey sense – all that will adapit for sure. It’s a matter of whether he can handle the NHL size and pace, the rigors of it.”Bruins President Cam Neely (from ‘OT rules should be modified in early round,’ Boston Globe, May 8, 2022)
The 5-foot-10, 172-pound forward is quickly becoming the Black and Gold’s top prospect and it’s going to be interesting to see where he ends up next season, in Boston or Providence. He was impressive in the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo last September and then in Boston’s training camp a few weeks later, before Sweeney assigned him to the WHL.
Providence Gets Swept by Bridgeport
Going into their best-of-three series against the Bridgeport Islanders, Providence, who lost their final six regular-season games, was playing with a depleted roster. Between injuries, illnesses, and call-ups to Boston, the P-Bruins rolled out what could be considered a preseason roster.
The result was a two-game sweep for Bridgeport, winning the first game in overtime at the Dunkin Donuts Center on May 2, 2-1, then winning by the same score two nights later in another overtime win on their home ice. In the first game, Jakub Lauko scored the only Providence goal, while defenseman Nick Wolff scored the only goal in Game 2.
Related: Bruins Prospects Report: Studnicka, Harrison, Lysell & More
As far as who makes the jump from Providence to Boston next season, that’s going to be determined by some of the offseason moves the Bruins and Sweeney make. They have several defensemen and bottom-six forwards under contract for the 2022-23 season, which could block some of the prospects.
Some prospects who made the jump for some short stints in the NHL this season had a strong season in the AHL. Oskar Steen finished with 15 goals and 20 assists in 49 AHL games and Jack Studnicka had 10 goals and 25 assists. Jesper Froden, who signed a one-year contract last June, had 16 goals and 18 assists in 49 games. Defensemen Jack Ahcan had six goals and 17 assists in Providence, while also scoring his first career NHL goal against the Chicago Blackhawks in March.
There were some promising additions to the Providence roster at the end of the NCAA season. John Beecher had three goals and five points in nine games after his career at the University of Michigan ended and free agent Georgii Merkulov showed some promise in eight games with one goal and five points.
Goaltender Troy Grosenick, who signed a one-year deal last summer and is a free agent this summer, went 16-6-4 with a 2.00 goals-against average (GAA) in the regular season with a .933 save percentage (SV%). He played in both playoff games against Bridgeport, allowing all four goals and finishing with a 1.68 GAA and .939 SV% in the series. Boston signed free agent goalie Brandon Bussi out of Western Michigan University in March for next season and with Grosenick turning 32 with Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark solidified in Boston, it’s unlikely Grosenick returns.
Overall, it was a successful season for the P-Bruins considering all the players shuffling between Boston and Providence, but there is still Lysell to follow as his Giants look to bounce back in the series heading home for Games 3 and 4 beginning Tuesday night.