Back in December, Boston Bruins’ highly-touted prospect Fabian Lysell was selected for Team Sweden at the 2022 World Junior Championships. Unfortunately for Lysell and all the other players in the tournament, it was shut down after just four days due to a COVID-19 outbreak. After nearly nine months, the tournament will take place beginning Tuesday in Edmonton.
Lysell will once again be part of Team Sweden and he will not be the only Black and Gold prospect participating in the tournament in Canada. Riley Duran made Team USA this time around and will be part of the bottom-six forward grouping, while 2022 draft pick Dans Locmelis will play for Latvia.
Lysell Gets Another Chance
In December, it was not a very good four days for Lysell when the tournament began right after Christmas. He missed Sweden’s first two games against Russia and Slovakia with an illness before the tournament was canceled. After the tournament was canceled, it was announced in March that they were going to play the tournament in mid-August, which gives the Bruins’ 2021 first-round pick at No. 21 another opportunity to showcase his talent in one of the biggest tournaments of the season.
Lysell is coming off an impressive season with the Vancouver Giants in the Western Hockey League (WHL). In 53 regular-season games, he had 22 goals and 40 assists, before turning in an even more impressive performance in the postseason. In 12 games he had four goals, and 17 assists, which included a five-assist game in the opening game of the playoffs in a 5-4 win overtime victory over the Everett Silvertips. In July, he skipped the Bruins Development Camp at Warrior Ice Arena because of the WJC, a decision that the Bruins made in anticipation of the tournament, as well as a quick turnaround to the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo in September ahead of training camp at the end of the month. Lysell wanted to be there, but Bruins player development director Jamie Langenbrunner said it made sense for the 19-year-old to take the time off ahead of a busy August and September.
“You know, [Lysell] was disappointed, quite honestly,” Langenbrunner said. “He wanted to be here. It’s an opportunity for him to meet everybody and be around. But after talking through with him, it just makes more sense [to skip development camp]. For him to bounce back and forth, it would mess up his summer way too much.
“Disappointing, but we’re dealing and kind of just going with the flow with a lot of these things. It’s kind of the way it goes.”
Lysell is one of the top forwards for Sweden, which boasts an impressive grouping. Jonathan Lekkerimaki, who was picked 15th overall by the Vancouver Canucks in July’s draft in Montreal, has an impressive skill set. Sweden did receive some tough news that William Eklund will skip the tournament to prepare for the 2022-23 NHL season with the San Jose Sharks. Despite that decision, look for Sweden to make a run in the tournament.
Duran Makes Team USA Roster
Duran was selected on Sunday when Team USA announced their final roster and will join Lysell in Western Canada. The Bruins’ 182nd pick in the 2020 Draft and is coming off an impressive freshman season at Providence College. In 38 games for the Friars, Duran had 10 goals and nine assists and his collegiate coach Nate Leaman will be the head coach for Team USA in the WJC.
Duran is a versatile forward who is rugged and plays with a chip on his shoulder and was on the third line for Leaman in the pre-tournament games Team USA had. He’s someone to keep an eye on at the WJC the next couple of weeks and then this winter in Providence.
Locmelis Makes Latvia Roster
In July’s Draft in Montreal, the Bruins selected Locmelis 119th overall in the fourth round, and like Lysell and Duran, he will get a chance to show what he can do in front of the eyes in Edmonton for Team Latvia. The 6-foot-0 and 170-pound forward is coming off an impressive season in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL).
In 44 games for Luleå HF J20, the flashy forward had a team-leading 18 goals and 16 assists. Following the draft, Locmelis participated in the Bruins Development Camp in mid-July at Warrior Ice Arena and scored a goal on the final day in the scrimmages. After the tournament, Locmelis will play for the Youngstown Phantoms in the USHL for the 2022-23 season.
Bruins Limited Prospects at WJC
Boston does not have an impressive prospect pool currently, to begin with, and that is evident with Lysell, Duran, and Locmelis being the only three prospects in Edmonton for the next couple of weeks. They get a chance to showcase their talents on a big stage. The WJC is usually played around the Holidays in December, but the next two weeks in August give Bruins fans an early peek at three prospects on the biggest stage for prospects.
Scott Roche covers the Boston Bruins for The Hockey Writers. A frequent user of the Oxford comma. Scott has been a sports writer for 25 years for different sites and daily newspapers. Writing started out as a hobby, but it has become a passion for Scott over the years.