Wing Draft: Could Fabian Lysell be Yzerman’s Big Risk?

Octopus Thrower

We’ve already went though a few of the 2021’s biggest boom or bust players and how they’d fit into the Detroit Red Wings. Now, let’s take a look at the player with one of the highest ceilings in the entire draft: Fabian Lysell.

2021 Season

Lysell began his season playing his fourth year in Frolunda’s junior league in the SHL. Frustrated with the decision to keep him in the juniors, Lysell eventually found his way into another SHL organization by transfer: Lulea. The organization immediately threw him into the pro league, where he remained for the last 26 games of the season.  Lysell went from averaging over a point per game in 11 with Frolunda’s under-20 team (3 goals and 10 assists) to just notching a goal and two assists in 26 games in the pro-league. Lysell also had another chance to show off in the World Championship, playing with Sweden’s U-18 team. Again, he managed to average over a point per game (3 goals and 6 assists in 7 games).

Massive Ceiling

Lysell received a bit of criticism for his attempt to claw his way into the SHL, especially after receiving such a limited role and barely producing after getting there. However, in both the pros and juniors, Lysell made a strong case for being a potential top five pick.

Skimming through tape, the first thing one notices about Lysell’s game is his ridiculous speed. He’s arguably the best skater in the draft; his acceleration, shiftiness and mobility make for a player that can make trouble with just his skates. Somehow, Lysell is able to keep up with his skating using his highly skilled and quick hands. His combination of skills create one of the most elite playmaking wingers in the draft, excelling in completing high-danger passes right to the front of the net.

Lysell doesn’t just assist on high pressure chances. If given the chance (i.e. any room whatsoever), he’ll use a burst of acceleration to blitz pass defenders and take the shot himself.

Here’s another highlight, just in case the previous showcase wasn’t good enough.

Although the offense is highly impressive, Lysell has shown he’s more than capable as a two-way forward. He’s an absolute puck hound, constantly accelerating straight to opponents and increasing pressuring – lying in wait for a turnover.

Why Hesitate?

Fabian Lysell is one of those prospects where the stats just aren’t there to defend him. On paper, it looks like he’s a player that struggled mightily to adjust to the talent in the pros. He went from a thriving position as a top-line forward in juniors to just another player to fill out the fourth line in the SHL.

However, in this case, situation analysis and tape-watching are a must for gm’s looking to get a full scouting report. The duel threat of transitioning to a better league and limited deployment mean that Lysell wasn’t quite able to illustrate his abilities as expected. However, watching his highlight reels, one sees a prospect with a handful of offensive and defensive skills that seem translatable to the NHL. If he would’ve stayed in Frolunda and showed off in juniors, there’s a chance Lysell could be a consistent name projected in the top five.

Two-Way Player With a High Ceiling

Lysell really does make a solid amount of sense for the Detroit Red Wings. He has all the potential in the world and wants to prove it, evident by his work-horse mentality in-game. Although Detroit has a few solid forwards coming through the pipeline, Lysell could be the solution to the lack of elite talent in the system. He could certainly use another year in the SHL (Something Detroit fans should be fairly comfortable with at this point), but Lysell has already shown flashes of top-six ability in pro-leauges.

Yzerman’s first pick of the 2019 draft came as a surprise to many, as the lanky German defenseman was considered more of a mid-to-late first round pick on many draft boards. But Stevie ignored the consensus draft boards and “reached” for his ideal player – a decision that looks to be a home run just a couple years later. Lysell could very well end up being that under-the-radar pick that Yzerman snatches up early; his skillset and drive are fantastic fits in the Yzerplan. It might not be the prediction in most draft boards, but Yzerman picking up one of the most skilled skaters and playmakers in the draft should certainly be in consideration.

Lysell’s scoring statistics accessed through Elite Prospects

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