Bruins' top prospect draws lofty comparison from his WHL coach


If you're wondering why some consider Boston Bruins prospect Fabian Lysell untouchable ahead of the 2022 NHL trade deadline, Barclay Parneta makes a pretty compelling case.

Parneta is the general manager of the Western Hockey League's Vancouver Giants, where Lysell is playing after the Bruins selected him 21st overall in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.

Parneta has spent nearly 25 years in amateur and professional hockey as a scout and executive. And after watching Lysell play for Vancouver, Parneta told The Athletic's Scott Wheeler there are only two players he's seen with better skating ability than the young winger: Pavel Bure and Connor McDavid.

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"It’s just so pretty and fun to watch him. No matter who you are, you’re going to recognize 'wow, this guy is incredibly fast,'" Parneta told Wheeler of Lysell. "If he’s not the best skater I’ve ever seen, he’s certainly one of them."

That's lofty praise: Bure is a Hockey Hall of Famer who was named one of the 100 greatest NHL players of all time, while McDavid arguably is the best active player in the world.

Bruins player development coach Jamie Langenbrunner, who has kept in "regular contact" with Lysell while he plays for Vancouver, offered a similarly strong review.

"There are some straight line-skaters who are probably on par with him but it’s his first step or his ability to change direction to avoid contact or jump to another lane is where he’s a true class above," Langenbrunner said. "The first thing I think anyone that walks into the rink is going to see is that he can motor."

Lysell is plenty talented with the puck on his stick, as well: The Sweden native leads the Giants with 41 points (18 goals, 23 assists) through 35 games despite missing a full month due to COVID.

Lysell is the Bruins' No. 1 trade asset and could help them land a legitimate star before the March 21 deadline. But the 19-year-old also has the potential to be a top-six forward, so Boston shouldn't move Lysell unless the club views the return package as a home run.

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