At first glance, it looks like the Bruins did pretty well in the first round of the NHL Draft on Friday night: they caught a highly rated Swede with high-end talent at the end of the first round.
Shortly after his selection, however, rumors began to circulate that the last Bruin, Fabian Lysell, had “character concerns” that made him fall further into the first round than he could have. -be different.
These “concerns” were amplified by being mentioned on the ESPN2 show, but simply mentioned in passing without context (which is bad enough of the show).
To me, if you talk about “character concerns” on national television immediately after a kid is drafted into the NHL, you owe it to your audience to elaborate; instead, we’ve seen a whole bunch of guys mention “growls” or “what I hear” without saying anything.
When you hear “character concerns” you are probably going for a worst-case scenario. In Lysell’s case, this seems like a situation where things are being overdone.
(It’s worth saying here that it’s just from what we’ve been able to collect publicly, so if there’s more to the story, it will eventually come out.)
What are these reported character concerns?
It all seems to stem from the fact that Lysell is not happy with his playing time / squad and has made that fact known.
Of Hockey writers (emphasis added):
“Fabian Lysell is a very confident young man. He is so confident, in fact, that he demanded a departure from Frölunda HC’s J20 squad in order to get meaningful playing time in the SHL this season. He eventually struck a deal with Luleå HF with whom he played 26 games during the season, totaling just two goals and three points along the way.
So basically Lysell’s character issues stem from him not liking his situation as a young player and talking about it.
Of course, there is something to be said about “paying your dues” as a young man and not rocking the boat, but knowing that you can do better and stand up for your rights is certainly not a character flaw.
To say the least, hockey isn’t exactly a sport or a culture comfortable with big personalities. In fact, the NHL often seems like a race to see who can be the simplest person in the field.
With that in mind, it’s easy to see how some of the more traditional “hockey people” might view Lysell’s “impetuosity” as a character concern; I certainly don’t see if it’s like that, but I’m not a real “hockey player”.
Do the Bruins have any concerns about Lysell’s character?
It was a one-word answer.
“No,” General manager Don Sweeney said when asked about the alleged character concerns during his Zoom call after the first round.
“There is growth to be done for all young men and women and Fabian is no different in that regard,” added Sweeney. “He took real steps. We challenged him throughout the interview process on how his maturity [was] progresses and feels satisfied to have made a lot of progress.
“We are aware of the challenges he presented in certain situations that he might not have handled as well as he could,” concluded Sweeney. “He grew up and will be a better person overall. “
So this is it ! It would seem (at least on the surface) that these so-called “worries” have been exaggerated.
Lysell seems to really believe he deserves a chance to excel at the highest level; the Bruins seem to view this belief as confidence, not character.