The Boston Bruins have not played in 13 days because the NHL has postponed all of their games from Dec. 18 through Dec. 29, so let's check in on their top prospect: Fabian Lysell.
The B's selected Lysell with the 21st overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft. He's a highly skilled right winger who also plays with the kind of high motor and tenacity Bruins fans love.
Here's an update on Lysell's progress in 2021-22.
WHERE IS HE PLAYING?
Lysell was sent from the Bruins to the WHL's Vancouver Giants in early October, and that's where he'll play the entire 2021-22 season. Vancouver is fifth in the WHL's Western Conference standings with a 14-14-1 record (29 points).
But right now, Lysell is with Sweden at the 2022 World Junior Hockey Championships in Alberta. He didn't play in Sweden's group stage win over Russia and also missed Monday night's game versus Slovakia due to a non-COVID illness.
Lysell could return for Sweden's final two group stage games, which are scheduled for Wednesday against the United States and Friday night versus Switzerland.
Here's a look at Lysell's stats through 28 games with the Giants.
Lysell's 28 points in 23 games are pretty good when you consider this is his first season playing in North America, plus the fact he's playing in a totally different league and a smaller rink than what he experienced in Sweden.
He's tied for the team lead with 11 goals and ranks second in points. Lysell has contributed two goals and five assists on the power play as well.
The 18-year-old right winger has been particularly effective over the past month, tallying 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in his last eight games.
In summary, he's displaying the high-end offensive ability (goal scoring, playmaking, compete level, etc.) that the Bruins liked when they drafted him in July.
The most impressive highlight from Lysell in 2021 is probably this goal for Sweden in May -- before the Bruins drafted him.
Lysell has two 4-point performances for the Giants, and one of them happened on Oct. 29 against the Kelowna Rockets. He dominated all over the offensive zone, scoring one goal and setting up three more.
Lysell's second 4-point night came on Dec. 2 against the Rockets.
Here's a look at Lysell's accurate wrist shot:
Lysell also impressed during his brief preseason stint with the Bruins earlier this year. One of his best plays was setting up Jack Studnicka for a goal against the New York Rangers.
The Bruins could sure use someone with Lysell's goal-scoring ability and speed, but he's not able to be called up to the NHL for the rest of the season. Improving the scoring depth on the NHL roster will have to be done via trade before the March 21 deadline.
Looking ahead, Lysell should get an opportunity to prove himself in training camp and the preseason next year. It depends on how badly the Bruins need him and, most importantly, whether he's ready for that challenge.
The Bruins can't afford to rush Lysell and hinder his development as a result. He is Boston's only elite-level prospect and the only one in the system with real top-six forward potential. It's vitally important to the Bruins' long-term success that Lysell reaches his potential. If that requires giving him another season in the WHL, so be it.