Boston Bruins

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 28: Fabian Lysell #68 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on September 28, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

  • Fabian Lysell, widely regarded as the new top prospect in the Bruins’ pipeline, took the ice last year knowing that there was almost no way he was making the roster.

    I mean, the Bruins had already found his WHL destination before he even got the chance to show the organization what he could do at the NHL level. That was to be expected, all things considered, as Lysell was mere months removed from being drafted in the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft.

    But this time around, and after a strong year in Vancouver, the 19-year-old isn’t just happy to be here.

    “Yeah, definitely,” Lysell admitted when asked if this preseason feels a little more important. “Last year was kind of the new experience and all that. Now this year, I’m looking forward to if I get the chance to play, I’m definitely going to try to contribute in the areas that I feel like I can. I’m going to be prepared for if that opportunity comes and I’m definitely going to try to make things happen out there.”

    Riding to the right of center Patrice Bergeron (and with Pavel Zacha on left wing) through the first two days of on-ice work, that opportunity alone is not lost on the Swedish wing.

    “It’s a special thing to kind of get that opportunity to practice with with such high-skill guys like that,” said Lysell. “I’m just trying to learn as much as possible.”

    Learning the complete game required to hang with someone of Bergeron’s 200-foot excellence is a crash course, to say the least, but the communication between the two has been effective.

    “I think he’s like one of the best players in the world and it’s just the overall game and and all the small details,” Lysell noted. “Like how good he is with his stick and communicating if there’s something coming up he will talk about it right away and you understand really quickly what he means.”

    This is by design on the part of Jim Montgomery and the Bruins. They like what Lysell can do in the attacking end, and they already see some high-ceiling traits from Lysell. But stapling him to Bergeron is basically like giving him some extra, invaluable one-on-one work with another coach.

    “It’s been good,” Bergeron said of working with Lysell. “Great talent, lot of speed, smart player, and it’s good to be with him on the ice and get to know him .. He has the skill and the power and the speed for sure. He’s very dynamic and very smart.”

    Bergeron has also noticed Lysell’s game-breaking speed on the forecheck, as well as his willingness to get to the hard areas of the ice and play a grittier game. Those are musts at the game’s highest level.

    And it’s also a huge component of what Lysell’s second half of the 2021-22 season so special, and why the Bruins are wondering if he is indeed ahead of schedule compared to where they had him a year ago.

    Now comes figuring out just how far that hard-to-find mix of skill, speed, and grit can take him with a six-game preseason in front of him beginning Saturday night in Philadelphia.

  • Pasta highlights Montgomery’s early standouts in camp

    ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - JANUARY 24: David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins poses for a portrait ahead of the 2020 NHL All-Star Game at Enterprise Center on January 24, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

    ST LOUIS, MISSOURI – JANUARY 24: David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins poses for a portrait ahead of the 2020 NHL All-Star Game at Enterprise Center on January 24, 2020 in St Louis. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

    New head coach Jim Montgomery has heaped praise on just about everybody through the first two days of training camp. In fact, I’m not sure there’s a player who hasn’t left a positive impression on him. (If someone’s lagging, we’re not going to find out about it publicly, so consider that one immediately noticeable change from Bruce Cassidy to the more player-friendly approach from Montgomery.)

    But has anybody stood out perhaps a bit more than he initially anticipated?

    “I knew David Pastrnak was good, but I didn’t know he was this good,” Montgomery said. “It’s unreal. Like he makes plays out of nothing. It’s subtle plays. He’s fun to watch out there.”

    Nice little bit of (understandable) praise for No. 88 while the Bruins try to hammer out a new deal.

    The second player noted by Montgomery? Defenseman Derek Forbort.

    “It’s true about a lot of people, but I think Derek Forbort’s really stood out to me,” Montgomery said. “He looks quick, he’s ending plays. He understands some of the stuff we’ve already introduced [and] you see him implementing it. So I guess those are the two that jump out.”

    Forbort, signed to a three-year, $9 million deal in 2021, is coming off a 2021-22 campaign that included a career-high four goals, along with 14 points, 133 hits, and 100 blocked shots in 76 games.

  • Jakub Zboril trending in right direction

    Oct 4, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Jakub Zboril (67) against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 4, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Jakub Zboril (67) against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. (Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)

    It was downright cruel how Jakub Zboril’s 2021-22 season ended.

    Part of that oft-hammered trio of picks made by the Bruins in the first round of 2015 NHL Draft, Zboril looked like he was finally establishing himself as a full-time NHL defenseman when a torn ACL suffered in Nashville ended his season after just 10 games. Zboril, who worked on his craft in the AHL for over 180 games and even had an unfulfilled trade request, broke down when he heard the news.

    But through two days of camp, the 6-foot-1, 191-pound defender has shown no signs of a post-surgery regression when it comes to his skating and ceiling for 2022-23.

    “I think he’s been really good both days,” Montgomery said. “I think he’s been ending plays. I like how assertive he’s been with the puck, and I’ve liked his decision making. I’m really happy with his start of camp.”

    With Charlie McAvoy out and the Bruins possessing a surplus of left-shot defensemen (Zboril included), the current plan calls for Zboril to move to the right side. That could lead him just about anywhere in the B’s defensive mix, really, be it opposite Hampus Lindholm on Boston’s top pair or with a Derek Forbort or a Mike Reilly on the Black and Gold’s third pairing.

    And that versatility is going to be a gigantic boost to Zboril’s overall value, according to the team.

    “It’s really important right now with only two right-handed defensemen,” Montgomery, noting Brandon Carlo and Connor Clifton, noted. “As far as someone with his skill level to add offense and also kills plays with me like we’ve seen in these first two days, it’s a huge benefit.”

  • The latest on the B’s and Anton Stralman

    Mar 25, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Arizona Coyotes defenseman Anton Stralman (86) during the face off against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

    Mar 25, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Arizona Coyotes defenseman Anton Stralman (86) during the face off against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports)

    As first reported by 98.5 The Sports Hub, defenseman Anton Stralman was extended a tryout offer by the Bruins for this year’s training camp. As of Thursday morning, the 36-year-old Stralman, who spent last year with Arizona, had yet to make any sort of decision on what he wanted to do.

    But on Friday, Stralman informed the Bruins that he will join the team for training camp.

    In action for 74 games with the Coyotes last year, the right-shooting Stralman put up eight goals and 23 points, and finished with 99 hits and 100 blocked shots, while averaging 21:21 per night.

    Stralman, a veteran of 930 games since 2007, would give the Bruins some much-needed right-side defensive depth. He also comes with a wealth of postseason experience to his name, with 113 career Stanley Cup Playoff appearances, including runs to the Stanley Cup Final in both 2014 and 2015.