Sweden isn’t just producing NHL-calibre defensemen these days — between 2020 and 2021, there’s a whole wave of elite forward talent coming.
Don’t let Fabian Lysell’s points with Frolunda’s U20 team this season fool you — he’s a 16-year old playing among 19-year olds. His offensive production with their U18 team speaks volumes. Not many underaged players can score nearly a goal-per-game and register almost two-and-a-half points-per-game.
Lysell is an electrifying and dynamic winger. Though on the smaller side, he can break games open with his offensive creativity. When Lysell is going, he’s almost machine-like in the way he can produce. He has incredible hands, and when the puck is on his stick, he will dangle through and around players to take it to the net.
Though his brand of hockey is typically bold and showy, Lysell doesn’t just pull these plays out of his pocket for the sake of showing off. He reads and anticipates his opponents well and can capitalize on blown coverage or out-of-positional players. Lysell loves the toe-drag to a wicked wrister to get his shot.
An exceptional skater, Lysell has an explosive first couple of steps and can maintain his top speed while stickhandling through the neutral and offensive zones. He’ll weave his way to the open areas of the ice when he doesn’t have the puck, and thanks to his superb edgework, doesn’t need a lot of space to create offense.
Lysell spends an incredible amount of time in the offensive zone, so much that it’s easy to say that his defensive play gets overlooked. When he’s on the ice, the team doesn’t usually spend that much time hemmed in the defensive zone. However, Lysell does a good job of covering his man in his own end and maintains good positioning. He will use his stick to disrupt passes or lift pucks off opponents instead of using his body to force pucks off of them.
The undersized Lysell didn’t struggle as an underager at the U18 level in Sweden, but there may be a bit larger of an adjustment for him in the U20 league. He has grown over the season, and just needs to get stronger to be able to compete consistently with older opponents in SuperElit (and eventually the SHL). As the opponents get tougher, he’ll likely spend more time in his own end, and that’s always an area of the ice where it doesn’t hurt to make improvements.
Strengths: Skating, Vision, Hands
To Improve: Strength, Defense
A dynamic winger with great speed, Lysell is known for his electric stickhandling and ability to take over a shift whenever it calls for it. [The Hockey News]
Lysell is an offensive, point producing machine and a very dynamic player. He’s got fantastic hands and puck skills and great determination with the puck and is considered a game changer as he doesn’t wait for a play to happen, but makes the play happen. [2019 Black Book]
Fabian Lysell has been Sweden’s best player at the #WorldU17. He’s a terrific shooter, but look at this display of skating and puck control. Kid’s electric.— TPEHockey (@TPEHockey) November 5, 2019
Lysell is a 1st rounder for the #2021NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/vmoGGyAtnF
Love this shift by Fabian Lysell. Let’s recap it.— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) November 15, 2019
1. Covers his defenseman’s pinch
2. Jumps on loose puck in the neutral zone
3. Stick handles around traffic at the blue line
4. Interception in the slot #2021NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/jlBBRVsZ0b
All statistics from Elite Prospects.