Boston Bruins

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The Boston Bruins knew that the 2021 NHL Draft was going to be a ‘unique’ one.

With limited in-person viewings at their disposal, the Bruins had to really rely on video scoutings and maximizing the in-person viewings they were afforded. And honestly, that led them to a unique spot, with their most Swedish-born picks since taking three Swedes in the 2000 NHL Draft. In fact, the Bruins didn’t go with a single New England native with their seven picks, and waited until the seventh round to make a pair of selections who will eventually play in their backyard in the college ranks.

That alone was a huge reversal from their 2020 draft, which was almost entirely local.

But let’s get to know more about the seven picks the Bruins made this time around…

First round (No. 21 overall): Right wing Fabian Lysell

The Bruins went for the high-end skill with the selection of Swedish right wing Fabian Lysell with the No. 21 overall pick.

In action for 26 games for Luleå HF (SHL) against men, Lysell scored two goals and added an assist while averaging less than eight minutes per night as a teen playing professional hockey. Prior to that jump, which seemingly earned Lysell some silly ‘character concern’ worries, Lysell played for Frölunda HC’s under-20 team, and put up three goals and 13 points in 11 games.

“I think I’m a dynamic player,” Lysell offered when asked for a scouting report on his game. “I like to challenge opponents with pace. I try to use my skating to create separation from myself and to be in those dangerous scoring areas. That’s what I think.”

“I think we do identify with the skill and the game-breaking ability,” Sweeney, who noted the Bruins’ work on the 5-foot-10 went deeper than some of his comps with B’s director of European scouting P.J. Axelsson stationed in his backyard, said of the 18-year-old Lysell. “He’s got speed, he can shoot the puck. You saw the pockets of high-end ability.”

“He has a certain skillset that was certainly attractive to us: Passion and drive for the game,” Sweeney said. “Adapting to a North American style and smaller rinks, when he decides to come over, is something we’ll have to discuss with him and his representatives. We’re excited for what Fabian brings and his passion and skill combination was unique for us to identify.”

“I think Fabian is a great player,” B’s fifth-round pick Oskar Jellvig said. “His offensive skills are unbelievable. When he comes off the rush against the D, he’s going to toe-drag it, put it between his legs, and go top corner.”

The Bruins could certainly use more of that.

Third round (No. 85 overall): Center Brett Harrison

The Bruins seemingly went as close to drafting a Bruins connection as they could with Brett Harrison.

A 6-foot-2, 188-pound center, Harrison grew up a Bruins fan because of his father’s allegiance to the team, and his grandfather was best friends with former Bruins defenseman Gary Doak. Harrison’s father is also friends with Jack Studnicka’s father, and Harrison has shot on Bruins prospect Kyle Keyser in training camp. Harrison also played for the Oshawa Generals (Bobby Orr’s old junior team), and is a native of Dorchester. Granted, it’s Dorchester, Ontario, but it’s a Dorchester all the same, right? Oh, and Harrison’s favorite player: Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron. OK, maybe it is Dorchester, Mass. for all we know.

One of four OHL rookies to hit the 20-goal mark in 2019-20, Harrison prides himself on his versatility and ability to create.

“I’m a player that, I can play in all areas of the ice and all positions; I’m a centerman, but I can also play both sides of the wing as well,” Harrison said. “I have a very high hockey IQ and a really great scoring touch. I find the soft areas in front of the net and in the slot. I love going to the dirty areas and producing on my chances in front.”

And assuming a return to the OHL can happen without a problem this fall, Harrison already knows his focus for 2021-22.

“A lot of feedback that I’ve been getting is just working on my skating, and I’ve been doing that a lot this summer,” said Harrison. “I’ve been on the ice with my power skating coach two or three times a week. We’ve been working on lowering my stance and being more explosive. Just from a standstill position, getting quick three steps to win puck races.”

Fourth round (No. 117 overall): Goaltender Philip Svedeback

A 6-foot-3 goaltender, Svedeback put up a 5-6-0 record with a .912 save percentage and 3.47 goals against average in 12 appearances for the Vaxjo Lakers HC (Sweden) junior team in 2020-21. The numbers don’t tell the whole story, according to scouts, as Svedeback was frequently under siege behind that Vaxjo defense and kept them in countless games.

The potentially good news for Svedeback’s development (or at least his chances of a win every time out there) comes with word that the 19-year-old is set to move away from Sweden and play the 2021-22 season for the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints.

Svedeback is the first goaltender drafted by the Bruins since Jeremy Swayman went with the 111th overall pick in 2017, and is the third goaltender drafted by the Bruins since Don Sweeney took over for Peter Chiarelli in 2015 (Daniel Vladar was the first).

His selection also gives Sweeney and the Bruins four under-25 goaltenders in their system, with Svedeback joining a group featuring the aforementioned Swayman and Vladar, as well as former OHL standout Kyle Keyser.

Fifth round (No. 149 overall): Left wing Oskar Jellvig

A pass-first wing, Oskar Jellvig is coming off a 2020-21 campaign that included six goals and 12 points in 13 games for Djurgårdens IF’s junior team, and has eight goals and 16 points in 28 games with their U-20 team since the start of 2019-20.

Jellvik, listed at 5-foot-11 and just under 180 pounds, also appeared in three games for the club’s pro team this past season.

“I would describe myself as an offensive player with an edge in the offensive zone,” said Jellvig. “My best ability, I would say, are my skills with the puck and my hockey sense to find my teammates.”

And though he’s never been to Boston, Jellvig knows what he’s walking into when it comes to Boston’s sports scene.

“I know the city sports-wise with the teams there,” Jellvig said. “The college teams, like Boston University, and the Patriots and Tom Brady. I think the town is a great town to be in, if you play sports.”

(Nobody tell him about Tom Brady. Just ’50 First Dates’ him and put old newspapers on his table every morning. We can get a solid 18 years out of this if we play our cards right.)

Sixth round (No. 181 overall): Defenseman Ryan Mast

Addressing every position but defense through the first five rounds of this year’s draft, the Bruins made their move on the blue line and went with size on the backend with their sixth-round selection of Sarnia Sting defenseman Ryan Mast.

Standing at 6-foot-4, Mast played just 10 games in 2020-21 after the OHL’s season cancellation (they were all a showcase series in Erie), and noted that he’s added another five pounds to his frame in preparation for the 2021-22 season.

“I’m a big right-handed, two-way defenseman,” Mast said. “I think I value playing the defense end a lot, but I can get involved jumping in the rush too and making plays offensively. It’s being a versatile, two-way defenseman.”

On the board for just 11 points in his rookie year with the Sting, Mast has shown of emerging as an analytics darling.

“Mast popped up in the 73rd percentile for defensive zone break-ups in a massive 300 defender-long tracking set. Relative to his team average, he sat in the 85th percentile for Entry prevention and in the 58th for Carry-In against average,” RecruitScouting.com wrote in a fantastic in-depth dive on Mast. “Besides his flourishing offensive skills, his defensive work one-on-one solidifies his importance to Sarnia. Not only does the eye test prove it but so do the numbers, subsequently.”

And with some fellow advanced-metric darlings to model his game after, too.

“I think Dougie Hamilton is a good one that I like to learn from,” Mast said when asked for examples of his influences. “A Bruin that I think is a good one is Brandon Carlo. Similar body types and he’s definitely someone I can learn from by watching him.”

Seventh round (No. 213 overall): Center Andre Gasseau

The Bruins stuck with size with their first of two seventh-round selections with the drafting of 6-foot-4 center Andre Gasseau.

A California native, Gasseau grew up a Kings fan (his father, James, was a draft pick of the Sabres in 1984 and works with the Jr. Kings), and put up 12 goals and 27 points in 42 games for the U.S. National U18 team in 2020-21.

Gasseau will spend 2021-22 season with USHL’s Fargo before making way to Boston College in 2022.

Seventh round (No. 217 overall): Defenseman Ty Gallagher

With their final pick of the 2021 NHL Draft, the Bruins went with a record holder, drafting Michigan-born defenseman Ty Gallagher, who actually holds the record for career goals by a NTDP defenseman, with 24.

“I’ve always been an offensive-minded defenseman,” Gallagher told Sportsology’s Russ Cohen in an exclusive interview. “I’ve always been able to read the play and know when to jump in on the play to create offense.”

Gallagher will start his collegiate career this fall with the Boston University Terriers.

“It’s just a great organization, great coaching staff, and I think it’ll set up for the next step of my career,” Gallagher said of his upcoming move to Comm Ave and to a staff that includes Jay Pandolfo. “Really looking forward to my next four years there.”


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.