Bruins Should Resist Trading Fabian Lysell

The Boston Bruins are likely going to be buyers at the trade deadline. They have a 27-16-4 record and hold the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Despite their solid record, they have several issues with their roster to address and have been linked to multiple big-name players because of it. Yet, acquiring someone will likely mean giving up at least one of their top prospects. That is understandable, but the one prospect who should be untouchable is Fabian Lysell.

Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now reported that the Vancouver Canucks are very interested in Lysell. Coincidentally, the Bruins have known interest in both J.T. Miller and Conor Garland, so acquiring either one of them could force Boston to trade their 2021 first-round selection. Although the desire to bring in more talent makes sense, management needs to resist moving Lysell. Here’s why.

Lysell the Bruins’ Top Forward Prospect

Lysell is Boston’s top forward prospect. Jack Studnicka is a candidate for the title, too, but he is also 22 years old and still hasn’t secured himself a permanent spot on the NHL roster. This is another reason why the 19-year-old winger is receiving more attention in trade talks. The possibility of him having a higher ceiling is there, and one can see that with how well he’s playing.

Fabian Lysell Boston Bruins
Fabian Lysell, Boston Bruins (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

In 30 games this season with the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League (WHL), Lysell has 15 goals and 34 points. The switch from the Swedish Hockey League to juniors seems to be doing wonders for him, as it is allowing him the chance to play against competition his age. With this, he is already producing at a point-per-game pace. It’s also encouraging to see that the sniper is not only scoring goals but also setting up his teammates. If this kind of production can translate to the NHL down the road, he will be a steal of a draft pick. There is too much risk in giving up on him too quickly.

Bruins’ Depth at Right Wing Is Weak

I recently discussed that the Bruins’ depth at right-wing is weak. It’s likely why they have expressed interest in Garland. Although Craig Smith plays with a high degree of effort, he has struggled significantly to produce like a legitimate top-six winger this season. Nick Foligno has just one goal in 30 games and may benefit from moving back to his natural left-wing position on the fourth line. Furthermore, Oskar Steen had some strong moments during his call-up, but it’s hard to determine his exact ceiling. Essentially, none of the team’s current options appear to be second-line players, and Lysell could become just that.

Related: Bruins’ 2022 Trade Targets From the Anaheim Ducks

The Bruins have also been weak at right-wing for a significant amount of time, but it’s an issue that doesn’t get talked about nearly enough. Truthfully, they haven’t had long-term stability at the position since they lost both Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin during the 2013 offseason. Jarome Iginla was excellent during his one season with the team, but after he left, it progressively got worse. General manager Don Sweeney took a risk going off the board and drafting Zach Senyshyn with their final first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, and it backfired. Marcus Johansson was a useful rental in 2019, but his time with the team ended quickly. Other players like David Backes, Danton Heinen, and Karson Kuhlman also weren’t capable of playing top-six roles.

The Bruins just haven’t had any success finding another long-term top-six right-winger in a long time. Yet, if Lysell reaches his potential, they might finally solve this issue. This only provides another monstrous reason why it would be very risky to trade the young winger.

Pastrnak’s Contract Expires Soon

This may be scary for fans to hear, but David Pastrnak’s contract expires after next season. If the Bruins are unable to re-sign him, they will become even weaker at right-wing. He has a very affordable $6,666,667 cap hit, but his marvelous play warrants a raise. Due to his immense importance to the team, they should make sure to lock him up as soon as this summer. If they can’t reach an agreement by the time his contract expires, it will create more of a reason to keep Lysell around.

David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins
David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In a perfect world, the Bruins will have Pastrnak and Lysell as their top-six right-wingers for years to come. That is assuming that the latter ends up reaching his expected ceiling, of course. It’s a very nice thought, and the Bruins should at least try to make it become a reality. This is especially true when noting that Pastrnak would be a nice mentor for the Swedish winger, too.

Bruins Should Trade Other Assets

Of their current prospects, there should be two untouchables – Lysell and Mason Lohrei. It would be excellent to see if Studnicka can develop into a middle-six center with the Bruins, too. However, of the trio, he may be expendable if they want to make a significant splash at the deadline. Urho Vaakanainen is another prospect who might be dealt. Although the 23-year-old looked solid during his call-up before getting injured, it’s hard to determine if he will ever be a legitimate top-four defenseman.

When it comes to the roster, the biggest name is Jake DeBrusk. The 25-year-old requested a trade earlier this season, and the Bruins will fulfill it if they get the right package in return. Fellow former first-round pick Trent Frederic is another forward who they may consider moving, as they have a plethora of suitable bottom-six forwards. Naturally, their 2022 first-round pick will have to be up for grabs if they want to add a high-impact player.

At the end of the day, it is easy to understand why the Bruins would benefit from making a huge acquisition before the trade deadline passes. Yet, there is just far too much risk in trading away Lysell. If he ends up being the only prospect who sellers want to acquire from the Bruins, it may be best for management not to make a trade this March.


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