The Boston Bruins went with skill with their first pick of the 2021 NHL Draft, selecting right wing Fabian Lysell of the Swedish Hockey League with the No. 21 overall selection in Friday’s first round.
A 5-foot-11, 172-pound wing, Lysell was considered by many to be the ‘best available’ when the Bruins found themselves on the clock. An all-skill kind of player, Lysell put up two goals and an assist in 26 games for pro team Luleå HF (SHL) as an 18-year-old playing less than eight minutes per night. Lysell also played for Frölunda HC’s under-20 team prior to his move to the pro ranks in 2020-21, and put up three goals and 13 points in 11 games.
A player who has actually drawn some comparisons to the B’s Brad Marchand with the way he can make plays using his speed and skill, Lysell was ranked No. 9 by EliteProspects, No. 10 by McKeen’s Hockey, and No. 14 by TSN’s Bob McKenzie. And the NHL’s Central Scouting had Lysell ranked as the No. 9 European skater.
But if he was ranked so highly, why did he fall down to the Bruins at No. 21?
As alluded to on the ESPN 2 broadcast, there were some “off-ice concerns” with Lysell. The broadcast did not delve into those concerns (like, at all, which is kinda weird to make that claim and then offer zero insight, but whatever), but it appears that a pre-draft profile on Lysell shed some light on those concerns.
“One other thing to keep in mind is his request to transfer to a different team. Some teams are looking at this as a character flaw with his harshest critics essentially calling him arrogant and over-confident,” a profile on TheHockeyWriters wrote. “While I don’t share those same sentiments, I do think there is something to be said about this player being willing to take a stand for himself. If he doesn’t agree with where he’s playing, it seems like he’ll let his opinion be known.”
The Bruins are scheduled to have another six picks on Day 2 of the 2021 NHL Draft, beginning with their third-round selection (No. 85 overall) after their in-season trade for Taylor Hall involved their second-round pick.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.