After an extremely disappointing season for the Calgary Flames, fans can look forward to the 2021 NHL Draft to see which player the organization selects to potentially be a big part of their future. After the lottery last night, the Flames will select 12th overall. Unfortunately, they were unable to win the draft lottery despite having a whopping 2.2% to win the lottery. Apologies to all the optimists out there.
Leading up to the draft, we will be diving into the profiles of each draft prospect projected to go in the top 20, based on our consolidated top 100 rankings.
Next up is Swedish forward Fabian Lysell who is ranked at #10 on The Win Column’s Consolidated NHL Draft Rankings. To keep it short, this is a player that should not be slept on by any means. Lysell is like Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well”. He’s never usually mentioned when people talk about the best options out there, but in my opinion, he honestly should be.
Who is Fabian Lysell?
Born January 19 in 2003, Lysell is an 18-year-old Right Winger who, yes you guessed it, shoots right as well. He has spent his hockey career playing in Sweden, starting with Hovås HC in 2016–17 and then sticking with Frölunda from 2017–18 to 2020–21. He started the year playing for Frölunda HC J20, yet moved up to the top league in Sweden, playing in the SHL with Luleå HF.
Lysell also spent some time at the U-18 WJC this year, going up against the next big names in Canadian Hockey, Connor Bedard and Shane Wright. Lysell produced nine points in seven games at the U18 WJC. This put him in a tie with Isak Rosén for the team lead in scoring. Lysell is listed at 5’10″ and 172 pounds, so he’s not a huge guy, but not super tiny either.
Fabian Lysell’s on-ice production
|2018–19||D-2||J18 Allsvenskan||Frölunda HC J18||11||3||5||8|
|2019–20||D-1||J20 SuperElit||Frölunda HC J20||11||1||5||6|
|Frölunda HC J20|
Lysell has spent lots of time in many different leagues since 2018–19, yet he has consistently put up very respectable numbers. It is important to keep in mind his age when looking at these statistics. Specifically, in 2019–20, Lysell spent time in the J20 Nationell (renamed from the more familiar SuperElit league). At 17 years old, putting up six points in 11 games is not bad at all in Sweden’s highest-level junior league.
This year, he started off playing in the J20 Nationell, producing over a point per game with 13 points in 11 games. However, he then requested a transfer to the top hockey league in Sweden, the SHL. Though his numbers may not pop out, Lysell only averaged 7:22 in ice time and played against men. To put this into Flames terms, Lysell got just a little more ice time than Buddy Robinson (at 7:08) whenever he was slotted into the lineup. With a very sheltered role, Lysell still managed to show off his elite skill.
Lysell’s stats in the SHL place him third in his age range and one point back from being in a three-way tie with Anton Olsson and Victor Stjernborg for the most points. However, he only played 26 games whereas Olsson and Stjernborg played 39 and 30 games respectively. Lysell is definitely one of the top young talents in the SHL.
Fabian Lysell’s strengths
Lysell is an absolute machine on his skates and is arguably the best skater in this draft. His agility and speed give him the ability to play a very shifty style at a high pace. This allows him to practically walk around his opponents in some instances. Here is an example of him using his high-end speed to his advantage, scoring a gorgeous coast to coast goal.
One could argue that his puck handling is just as good as his speed. In tight areas, Lysell can keep control of the puck and be incredibly shifty to get around his opponents. His hands, along with his speed, can be a deadly combination as shown here.
Watch here how he enters the zone using his speed and his puck handling to always end up in a dangerous shooting area.
It’s clear that he is an incredible offensive player, however, don’t let this and his size make you question his defensive abilities. Whenever he is on the ice, he constantly works to get the puck back. He is a workhorse and is a constant pressure to his opponents. Watch him here constantly backcheck and cover a large area of ice in the process.
In instances where he strips the puck off his opponent, he can generate a dangerous scoring chance second later as shown here.
Fabian Lysell’s areas of improvement
Though Lysell’s shot is not bad, it could use improvement if he wants to translate his goal scoring ability to the NHL. His shot can be deceptive, however its power is not the best. This can be addressed through an increase in his size and strength. Improvement in these areas will be very important to address, especially because of his smaller size overall
Increasing his strength will not only help with his shot, but Lysell would be able to improve his board play when larger defenseman look to gain an edge. With his ability to use his puck handling to dance around his defenders, improving his play around the boards through added strength would make Lysell just that much more unstoppable.
Fit with the Flames
Well let’s address the obvious first. The Flames have been wanting a right shot right winger to add to their system more than I wanted the ability to eat chicken nuggets for all three meals of the day at 12 years old. This has been a huge need for the organization and Lysell addresses this perfectly.
With Dillon Dube becoming an NHL regular and Matthew Phillips making his debut in the NHL, that just leaves Connor Zary as the lone speedy and skilled player in the Flames prospect pool. It would be great for the organization to restock the cupboard, especially for a team that has struggled to score goals.
He’s not Dylan Guenther, but Lysell might be the next best thing. Plus, with how uncertain each pick is this year, who’s to say Lysell won’t be better than Guenther when it’s all said and done? Dobber Prospects, one of the leading scouting outlets out there, ranked Lysell third on their most recent draft board. Even our writers are raving about Lysell as a potential dark horse for the steal of the draft.
Lysell is expected to be one of the first forwards selected in the 2021 NHL Draft. His skating ability is what sets him apart from many in this draft class, and he can use this attribute to speed down the wing to generate high quality scoring chances.
Along with his skating, Lysell has very strong hands, and always seems to maintain control of the puck. This can fool defenders, especially on the rush.
Though his offence is very strong, his defensive game is also impressive. With his ability to cover large areas of the ice with his swift skating, Lysell is an excellent backchecker and constantly pressures his opponents.
Though the power in his shot may need a little work, adding strength as an 18-year-old should not be too much of a problem for Lysell. If all goes according to plan, he can be a dynamic, top-line winger in the NHL and an absolute force to be reckoned with. I think the Flames could get on board with that potential.
Projection: Top six playmaker
Featured image created with Venngage.