Name: Fabian Lysell
Team: Luleå HF (SHL)
Position: Right wing
Stats: 26 games played, 2 goals, 1 assists, 3 points, 8 PIMs, -3 plus/minus rating
NHL Central Scouting ranking: 9th (European skaters)
Comparable NHL player: William Nylander
Fabian Lysell probably won’t end up being the best player to come out of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, but 20 years from now there likely won’t be anyone else with as entertaining of a highlight package.
At his best, the Swedish winger is a truly explosive and dynamic player, someone who is able to single-handedly break things open on any given shift. His most valuable asset is undoubtedly his skating, and you’d be hard-pressed to find any forwards from this draft crop who are better than him in this area. Not only is his top speed phenomenal, he is also incredibly agile and shifty, giving him the option to try beating defenders wide, or instead, cutting inside and going right through them. Every time Lysell picks up the puck deep in his own zone with a bit of momentum behind him it’s hard to not inch a little closer to the edge of your seat, because there’s a great chance that something incredible on the rush is about to happen.
Making Lysell even more dangerous is the fact that he is almost as skilled with his hands as he is with his feet. He can control pucks at full speed, which makes him significantly more effective when trying to burst from one zone to another. His combination of agility and puck skill also comes quite in handy on the powerplay, as he can circle and shimmy to create space for himself or draw penalty killers out of position before then threading a pass to an open teammate or taking the shot himself. There aren’t many young prospects who can break ankles like Lysell can. He’s more of a playmaker than a shooter, largely because his shot lacks power, but he has the precision and control to pick corners or holes when he gets in tight enough.
The Karlskrona bench had previously howled with laughter after a puck dribbled between a Frölunda dman's legs.— Alex Taxman (@AIexTaxman) September 30, 2020
Frölunda's bench exploded after Lysell broke this guy's ankles. https://t.co/TCmRl6M261
Some prospects are specialists while others are jacks-of-all-trades, and Lysell certainly falls into the former category. His play with the puck is undoubtedly better than his play without it, as he can have trouble winning pucks in dirty areas or gaining body positioning on strong opponents. He’s pretty slight and weak at the moment, and it seems unlikely that he’ll be able to add enough muscle mass to become even average in this area. As of right now you’d like to see a little more consistency and effort out of Lysell when it comes to his defensive game, but the good news is that his superb skating ability gives him a lot of room for improvement. With the right coaching and commitment he could become a great asset on the backcheck and someone who is able to force a lot of pressure on opposing defenders when they are at the attacking blueline, leading to zone clears and odd-man rushes going back up ice.
One other thing that he will need to work on is his ability to be more effective at different speeds. As much of an advantage as his skating is, sometimes it seems like he’s in a hurry but doesn’t quite know where to go or is forcing the matter a little more than he should. Being able to slow things down more effectively will help give him more options on the attack, find his teammates a little easier, and make him harder to predict and defend.
For years Lysell was a member of the Frölunda program, but this past season made the change over to Luleå, which allowed him to get more game action at Sweden’s top professional level, the SHL. He still had a bit of trouble getting ice time, however, as Luleå’s coach has a reputation for not giving his youngsters a big role. Luckily for him, he joined Sweden’s team for the IIFH U18 tournament in the spring and played a prominent role, getting to play on their top line and top powerplay unit and finishing tied for the team lead in scoring, with nine points in seven games.
The Dallas Stars have done a pretty good job lately when it comes to setting up their future at forward, with Roope Hintz and Jason Robertson taking huge strides in the NHL in 2021, while Ty Dellandrea and Mavrik Bourque also look quite promising. However, the organization doesn’t have a forward who brings quite what Lysell does. It’s easy to see how he would fit into the team’s plans, and given the raw talent that he possesses it would be hard for Dallas to pass him up if he’s still available at 14th overall.