The 2022 trade deadline came and went without a forward added to the mix for the Bruins.
But the Bruins aren’t yet out of options for (currently) external help, with 2021 first-round pick and current Vancouver Giant forward Fabian Lysell an option for the club at some point this season, according to Bruins general manager Don Sweeney.
“After his junior season, he could join either [Boston or Providence] to tell you the truth, as a signed reserve player,” Sweeney acknowledged. “He’s trying to do everything he possibly can to put Vancouver in the best spot they’re in.”
On North American ice after spending the previous two seasons in his native Sweden, Lysell has thrived in the Western Hockey League this season, with a Giants-leading 21 goals and 51 points through 43 games played. As a team, the Giants currently sit in sixth place in the Western Conference and appear primed for a playoff spot (the top eight teams qualify and they’re seven points clear of ninth place and with games in hand), though anything can happen over the next 11 games of their season.
“I was out [and] saw him a couple of weeks ago. Met with him, just making sure the lines of communication [were open],” Sweeney noted. “He understands he’s got to stay in the moment where your feet are, where he could be. Take care of that process, take that as far as you can, and there’s an opportunity as soon as that one closes. Hopefully they play for as long as they possibly can, and that’s where he should focus. But he’s a possibility for Providence, and here as well.”
If this indeed the path, it’s worth noting that this wouldn’t be the first time that the Bruins fast-tracked a player to the pros.
They lured center prospect Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson out of Boston University and to the NHL after his sophomore season and even got him in an NHL game to close out the 2016-17 season, while Charlie McAvoy went on a 0-to-60 sprint from college to the AHL to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2017.
And skating with the Bruins relatively deep into training camp for a player his age this past September, Lysell seemed to make a definite impression on the B’s in what finished as a two-game preseason run that featured an assist and four shots.
“Very dynamic,” B’s coach Bruce Cassidy said of Lysell back then. “I liked his ability to attack the net, he goes in traffic. He’s not a huge man, but he’s willing to drive wide on a [Derek] Forbort. Got stood up at the blue line, but it’s nice to see he’s willing to do that. He seems like a guy that has an attack mentality that’s going to get inside, not just perimeter.”
It’s just part of the package that makes him a potentially interesting wild card option for the Black and Gold sooner than anybody would have initially thought.
“He has pro attributes, for sure,” Sweeney said when asked if he thinks Lysell could be ready to jump into the pro mix at the end of his WHL season. “The physicality and some of the things that come with gaining experience at this level. He’d probably better served to go through a training camp environment, rookie camp, and training camp and see where he progresses. He handled himself fine during training camp this year in exhibition. He’s got the skill set. There’s nothing that stands in his way.
“Jumping in midstream at the end of the year is not an easy process, but from a skill standpoint and a talent standpoint, Fabian has a lot of the things that we’re excited about.”
It’s just a matter of when they see him take that next step.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has been covering the Bruins since 2010, and has been a member of the Boston chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association since 2013. 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.