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‘This is high-end skill:’ Bruins select dynamic Swede Fabian Lysell in NHL Draft

Fabian Lysell sized up his Bruins hat after he was selected at No. 21.
Fabian Lysell sized up his Bruins hat after he was selected at No. 21.Bruce Bennett/Getty

Needing a boost of offensive talent in their prospect pool, the Bruins may have picked a game-breaker in Swedish right winger Fabian Lysell, whom they selected at No. 21 overall in the NHL Draft on Friday night.

Lysell, listed at 5 feet, 10 inches and 172 pounds, is considered one of the quickest players in the draft.

“I think I’m a dynamic player,” he said on a Zoom call. “I like to challenge opponents with pace. I try to use my skating to create separation for myself and in those dangerous scoring areas.”

He was ranked ninth among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting. Overall, TSN’s Craig Button had Lysell 30th, but the majority — including TSN’s Bob McKenzie (14th), Sportsnet (13th), and Elite Prospects (ninth) had him much higher.


Independent analyst Chris Peters called him a “speedster who burns in transition” and said he “loves the value the Bruins are getting here.”

“He can boogie,” ESPN analyst Sam Cosentino said. “He is one of the most dynamic players this draft class has to offer.”

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, who leaned on Swedish scout P.J. Axelsson to make the choice, said Lysell “has a lot of work to do,” but “has the speed, he has the skill, he has the ability to shoot the puck past the goaltender. And some game-breaking ability that was hard for us to pass up.”

With it came murky “character concerns,” as a few members of the online scouting community noted, as did ESPN’s Cosentino on the broadcast. Lysell, who came up with the same Frölunda organization as did Axelsson, was traded last November to Luleå. Peters wrote that he “had been hearing Lysell would slip a bit because teams were a bit worried about his shift-to-shift competitiveness and toughness.” Sweeney said he wasn’t concerned, praising Lysell’s passion for the game.


“There’s growing up to be done with all young men and women. Fabian’s no different,” he said. “He’s made a lot of strides.”

The Globe could not verify what “character concerns” may have been present. A league source said Lysell has no criminal history.

Lysell, who turns 19 in January, posted a 2-1—3 line in 26 games with Luleå of the Swedish Elite League. Against his age group at the World Junior Championship, his 3-6—9 tied for the team lead in scoring, and roasted the US team several times with his wheels and fancy stick work.

“This is high-end skill,” said ESPN analyst Jeff Gorton, the former Bruins executive and Rangers GM. “He’s a hard kid, stocky, a firm kid. I’m sure they’re excited to get him [at 21].”

Lysell has not been to Boston, but believes the Bruins are “one of the better teams in the NHL,” he said. “They have super good guys like Pastrnak and Bergeron, guys I tend to watch a lot, watching the highlights. I think just from watching them I know a few things about the team. I’ve heard great things about the city as well. This is just a dream come true for me. Hopefully I can work hard to play there one day. That’s my main goal right now.”

Lysell said he planned to attend development camp, Aug. 2-6 in Brighton. Beyond that, it’s TBD.

“It’s a dialogue I’ve got to have with Boston now,” he said. “Right now, I’m just looking forward to next season and starting playing again. Obviously super honored to be part of this organization, and looking forward to what the future brings.”


Matt Porter can be reached at matthew.porter@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyports.