Let’s get one thing clear off the top: No, I am not suggesting by any means that Fabian Lysell will turn into the hockey player David Pastrnak is.
Here is what I am asking:
Pastrnak has become the player that at least 22 teams are wishing they hadn’t passed on. I’m sure the Oilers are happy they have Leon Draisaitl and maybe the Panthers are happy with Aaron Ekblad. Beyond that I think most General Managers wish they had a do-ever.
In three, four or five years, how many GM’s will be saying the same thing about Lysell, if any? I think it’s safe to assume that the Sabres are happy with Owen Power and the Kraken are happy with Matty Beniers. Ditto with the Ducks and Mason McTavish. But there are many more chapters to be written in this book including the Lysell chapter.
Entering the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, Central Scouting had Lysell ranked 9th on the international skaters list. By comparison, they had Pastrnak 5th among international skaters.
A consensus ranking of 15 of the top public rankings available to fans, Lysell came in at the number 11 spot, ten spots higher than where the Bruins were able to draft him. In 2014, Pastrnak’s consensus ranking was 18th.
It begs the question: is anyone going to regret not selecting him?
Obviously, that question won’t be answered for a few years but, the players are in their second year after the draft hence the question.
The one luxury the Bruins have in Lysell’s development is time. A year ago, they loaned him to the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League to get accustomed to the North American ice and the way of life. This season, they loaned him to their AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins. And because he signed his Entry Level Contract as an 18-year-old, his contract slides for two years unless he plays in 10 NHL games meaning that beginning next season, they will have him cost controlled for 3 years on his ELC unless he plays those 10 NHL games. Advantage: Bruins. At least on the business side.
On the ice, Lysell is one of the better skaters from his draft class. He is also one of the more offensively gifted. No one has ever said anything negative about those aspects of his game. That is, until the World Junior Championships.
Plenty has been said about him going pointless in the tournament. I’m not ignoring it or diminishing it in any way. However, all players, including Pastrnak go through slumps every season and it just so happened that Lysell’s came at the wrong time for his native Sweden. He’s just too talented a hockey player to suggest that this was normal for him.
In the AHL, Lysell has 8 goals and 13 assists through 25 games. His .840 points-per-game for a 19-year-old ranks 15th all time in AHL history. Obviously, Lysell has no issue putting up points against bigger, stronger and for the most part older competition. (Pastrnak’s 1.120 points-per-game in the AHL ranks second in AHL history for an 18-year-old.)
It’s not that I don’t have concerns, because I do, and it’s not because he comes with no warts, because he does. But as I said earlier, the Bruins have the luxury of time on their side. When you are in a drought and you’re “gripping the stick” you have to find other ways to impact the game. Lysell was still making plays, and he was creating chances so, what else could you ask for? I made no secret during the tournament that he could have done more defensively and even suggested that on too many occasions, he was always the last man back on the backcheck or to protect his zone. But that came with a caveat: he’s just too smart a player to not improve on that aspect of his game. Heck, we saw Pastrnak go through some of the same growing pains. He got it. Lysell will as well.
On the flip side, there are plenty of fans suggesting the Bruins call him up and give him a shot. I suggest to those fans he’s not quite ready for the reasons I mentioned earlier. Let him develop every aspect of his game in Providence and his time will come. The Bruins are obviously in no rush and again, they have the luxury of time.
His time will come and I suggest now there will be more than one GM wishing they hadn’t passed on him. Just like Pastrnak.
2 thoughts on “Could Fabian Lysell be the next David Pastrnak?”
Not to worried about Fabians talent, but I am worried about him getting injured when he makes the big club. He leaves himself open for getting hit and eventually its going to catch up to him.
When describing him to my wife, I compared him to Pasta. Not that they’re all that similar but they’re more similar than dis-similar IMO. The Bruins front office had immense patience with Pastrnak and it’s paid off. I see them doing the exact same thing with Fabian. This critic of Sweeney and Neely has slowly and quietly become very impressed with how they’ve been evolving this team in the last few years.