Boston Bruins

SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY - JULY 23: With the 21st pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Boston Bruins select Fabian Lysell during the first round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft at the NHL Network studios on July 23, 2021 in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Boston Bruins were aware of the alleged ‘character concerns’ with 2021 first-round draft pick Fabian Lysell.

But they weren’t scared off by them in the slightest, as confirmed by Bruins general manager Don Sweeney making the 18-year-old winger the team’s top draft pick of the 2021 NHL Draft, drafted at No. 21 overall.

“We have a player that played a long time with the Boston Bruins in [director of European scouting] P.J. Axelsson that is in Sweden [and] was in the hometown of [Lysell],” Sweeney said late Friday night. “There’s growing up to be done for all young men and women and Fabian is no different in that regard. He’s made some real steps.”

It’s still up in the air exactly what it was that Lysell did that constitutes true “character concerns.” In hockey, that can mean anything from being a legitimate criminal to being an introvert who enjoys playing video games. For what it’s worth, 98.5 The Sports Hub was unable to verify that there was anything that you would consider truly nefarious or concerning with Lysell. It would instead appear that his desire to leave Frolunda’s junior team to take his game to the next level and get a chance in the Swedish pro ranks (one he ultimately got with his move to Luleå HF) landed him on the ‘character concern’ list.

Hockey is so weird, man, and if that’s it, it seems like we’ve all lost the definition of “character concerns.”

Aware of that (or whatever it was), the Bruins walked away from their talks with Lysell more than pleased with his character.

“We challenged [Lysell] in all the interview process in terms of how his maturity and such was progressing and felt satisfied that, again, he’s made a lot of strides from growing into a young man and beyond,” Sweeney acknowledged. “We’re aware of the challenges that he’s presented in certain situations that he might not have handled as well as he could, and he’s grown from it and will be a better person overall, from it.”

It also helped that the Bruins had that hands-on scouting with Lysell beginning with Axelsson stationed in his backyard, and with the B’s having scouts in-person for Lysell’s showing at the U-18 World Championships.

“We’ve really followed his trajectory,” said Sweeney. “Obviously, when you play in the SHL as a young player, you’re not necessarily given primary roles and you might not have the same offensive output that he wants. So, you really pay attention when he goes and plays against his peers. Can he dominate games or at least be a game breaker? And I think he’s showed moments of that skillset as well. And he’s got a lot of work to do in terms of rounding out his overall game.

“He just has the speed, he has skill, the ability to shoot the puck past the goaltender. And again, some game breaking ability that was hard for us to pass on.”

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 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.