Boston Bruins

Bruins prospect Fabian Lysell receives sharp criticism from AHL coach

"He’s gotta start buying in or he won’t play for Jim Montgomery."

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Fabian Lysell is one of the Boston Bruins' top prospects. He has a great shot, excellent speed, strong playmaking ability and sees the ice really well. The Swedish right wing has a dynamic offensive skill set that makes him a lot of fun to watch.

But it's important to do it within the structure of the team game.

Lysell -- a 2021 first-round pick of the B's -- was criticized by Providence Bruins head coach Ryan Mougenel after the team's loss to the Syracuse Crunch on Sunday. It was a frustrating game for the P-Bruins, who took a 1-0 lead in the first period on Lysell's seventh goal of the season, but then folded by giving up four unanswered goals in a 4-1 defeat.

There was a play in the third period -- which you can watch here -- where Lysell tried to take on three or four opposing players by himself in the attacking zone. Syracuse was able to force the puck off Lysell's stick. Frankly, it didn't look like anything egregious, but Mougenel wasn't happy after the game.

“Listen, there’s a lot of good things he does. He can create anxiety with his feet. But for Fabian, he has to recognize that sometimes there’s not always a play to be made,” Mougenel told reporters, per Black N' Gold Productions. “I think that’s still in his growth. He’s learning that. I’m not saying that he won’t, but the team game is real important and he’s got five other guys, right? I hate the play in the third period where he’s trying to beat a guy 1-on-4. That’s the stuff he’s gotta get out of his game and it’s recognizing that.

"We’re getting into Year 2 here. He’s gotta start buying in or he won’t play for (Bruins head coach) Jim Montgomery. That’s a big part of Monty’s game is the team game and building the team game. A lot of that is possession. You can’t necessarily chip the puck, get it back, expand and hit the weak-side D, you need five other guys to be a part of that and you have to be connected. And a willingness to play that way. And until you do, then you’re outta here, you’re not in the AHL, then you’re Jim Montgomery’s problem. But until then, he’s gotta start building that into his game.”

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney met with reporters Monday after the team announced it was assigning rookie center Matthew Poitras to Team Canada for the upcoming World Junior Championships. Sweeney, who was in Providence to watch Sunday's game, was also asked about Lysell and Mougenel's comments. He provided some more context to the situation.

“I certainly heard Moug’s frustration after the game so we sat down for about 20 minutes,” Sweeney said. “The team played very well in the first period. Their pace was up, their execution was good. Fabian was a big part of that. He scored a nice goal on the power play on a downhill shot, managed the puck really well. And as the team started to ebb away -- give credit to Syracuse because they got to their game and our team departed from that. That’s where a young player like Fabian, that’s what (Mougenel) was specifically referencing – it’s about managing the game and having an understanding of it. It’s really no different than anyone else.

"But Brad (Marchand) and (David Pastrnak) go through the same thing. Offensively inclined players are going to go through that. They want to do more. And sometimes it’s just about maintaining within the team structure and executing. That’s something that Fabian and all young players are going to continue to go through. Older players are going to go through that. They want to do more. It’s a good quality to have. But you’ve got to do it within the framework of the team. It’s not something that he hasn’t heard directly from Moug and he was just trying to reaffirm that.”

Lysell needs to pick his spots wisely when trying to go 1-on-3 or 1-on-4, but in fairness to him, he does have the skill to try those sorts of moves. And Sweeney's point about guys like Marchand and Pastrnak sometimes trying to do too much is a good one. Highly skilled players are going to be aggressive in trying to create scoring chances, they just have to be smart about when to do it and make sure it doesn't hurt the team.

Lysell still has a bright future, and he currently ranks third on the P-Bruins in scoring with 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 23 games. The Bruins could use another goal-scoring wing in their lineup before the playoffs. If Lysell plays well enough, maybe he can help fill that void on the NHL roster. If not, Sweeney might have to look for help elsewhere before the trade deadline in March.

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