The Bruins are going to need some help up front in 2023-24.
After the retirements of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, and a cap crunch that led them to trade Taylor Hall and lose Tyler Bertuzzi in free agency, the Bruins will have to look inward in hopes of finding capable offensive conduits.
Such a challenge isn’t lost on prospect Fabian Lysell, who has ramped up his training in his native Sweden in hopes of making a case for NHL reps.
“I think the focus for me is just that I’m going to be a little more comfortable there now,” Lysell said in an interview with Bruins team reporter Eric Russo from Sweden. “I know more people and I know the city a little bit better now.
“So for me, it’s just going to be to feel comfortable and have the confidence to go in there and prove that I’ve been developing since last year, take it day-by-day, and my [goal] at the end is to make the team.”
The Bruins have left no stone unturned when it comes to forward depth. General manager Don Sweeney added forwards Morgan Geekie, Milan Lucic, James van Riemsdyk, Patrick Brown, and Jesper Boqvist in free agency.
He also brought in veteran Alex Chiasson on a professional tryout contract, while nonroster players such as Anthony Richard and Jayson Megna are also looking to impress during training camp.
Sweeney’s bargain-bin shopping spree means that younger prospects like Lysell and Georgii Merkulov may have an uphill climb when it comes to making the roster.
Working in Lysell’s favor are his high-end offensive talent and his potential as a middle-six weapon.
With his skating ability, playmaking poise, and knack for driving to the net, Lysell could leapfrog other wingers in the preseason.
“I want to build off one of my strengths, which is the power and speed and all that,” Lysell said. “Those two, and a combination of good conditioning, I feel like I’ll be in good shape.”
But for all of his potential, Lysell still needs to prove he has the wherewithal to withstand the punishment in the pro ranks and grow his overall game.
Last season had its share of ups and downs for the 20-year-old winger in his first full campaign in Providence. In his first 20 games, Lysell put up 19 points.
But after posting zero points in seven games in the World Junior Championships with Sweden, Lysell recorded just 18 points over his final 34 games with Providence.
His season ended with a late high hit from Hartford’s Adam Clendening in the Calder Cup playoffs in early May.
The lingering effects of a concussion limited Lysell early on during Bruins development camp in July.
“I felt like I was kind of up and down the rest of the year,” Lysell said last month about his rookie year with Providence. “So it’s a lot of new things to take in.
“But looking back at it, I learned a lot of new things that I wouldn’t know within the last year. So I’m really looking forward to this upcoming year and I think I have more knowledge now that I’m really going to be able to use for next year.”
Lysell’s priority this offseason has been to add more weight onto his 5-foot-11-inch frame. Beyond his physical tools, Lysell believes that putting last season’s struggles in the rearview mirror will allow him to attack the 2023-24 season with a clean slate.
“It’s a lot to take in, my first pro year,” he said. “I think the most important thing is going to be to have that reset button and have that preparation to recover faster and all that stuff. Because before I played, like, 60 games and then last year, I played almost 90, so that’s a huge adjustment.”
Lysell’s offensive tools have set him apart as one of the Bruins’ few blue-chip prospects over the last two years. But for him to take that next step, he’ll have to ensure that those talents translate to hockey’s highest level.
It’s a tough task to earn minutes on a roster chock-full of NHL veterans, especially given that the 2021 first-round pick’s skill set doesn’t exactly translate to a checking-line role, like a Jakub Lauko, Marc McLaughlin, or Johnny Beecher.
But Lysell doesn’t seem to be lacking in confidence.
“It’s just been going better and better for each week,” he said, “and I think I’m ready to get going here in September.”
Conor Ryan can be reached at email@example.com.