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Ottawa Senators 2021 Draft Profiles: Fabian Lysell, Oskar Olausson, & Matthew Coronato

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After focusing on players who might be able to project as pivots, we turn our attention to three wingers with very different skill profiles who will likely be available for the Senators at 10th overall.

Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Men’s Ice Hockey Gold Medal Canada vs Sweden Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/ The Denver Post

The Ottawa Senators have a deep organizational depth chart filled with young talent prime for opportunity in Belleville and Ottawa. Like many, I still wonder about whether they have enough elite skill up front to turn this group into a homegrown cup contender. As some of these prospects get traded for NHL players to plug holes that Dorion and co. want to fill more immediately, there will be room — even on the wings — for players to make their mark in 2022, 2023, or 2024.

In this series of profiles, we explore the games of three wingers that have top-six flair to them in a multitude of ways.


Fabian Lysell

Pos Team League Height Weight Date of Birth EliteProspects Consolidated Ranking
Pos Team League Height Weight Date of Birth EliteProspects Consolidated Ranking
RW Luleå HF SHL 5'10" 179 lbs 01/19/2003 #11

Background

Brought up through Daniel Alfredsson, Erik Karlsson, and Lucas Raymond’s Frölunda system, Fabian Lysell is a high-octane winger who plays at top gear all the time. Like many elite Swedish prospects before him, Lysell cemented his status as the top forward in his age group at the annual TV-Pucken tournament with hometown Göteborg. He won top tournament honours and was also named the best U16 player in the country after recording 2.79 points-per-game with Frölunda’s U16 squad. After putting up a league-leading 2.43 points-per-game at the U18 level the next year in 14 games as a double-underage player, Lysell moved onto the U20 league and didn’t look out of place — recording six points in 11 games.

When you combine this production with his team-leading seven points in five games at the U17s for a Bronze-medal winning Swedish squad, Lysell appeared ready for a big draft season. He started in the U20 league and stormed out of the gate with 13 points in 11 games. It was then where rumours started to swirl around Lysell being “arrogant” and having “attitude problems” as he looked to advance to the SHL level, and his agent eventually facilitated a transfer to Luleå, where he ended the year with 26 games against men. As we saw with Lucas Raymond in his draft year, this isn’t the first time that Frölunda’s ability to provide SHL minutes to young players have been called into question; hence, it’s important to take the reports about Lysell into context. Was it him betting on himself because he proved he was done with the U20 level? Or are there underlying concerns? Those are questions for scouts to ask as they get to the bottom of what went on this past year.

Regardless, while Lysell’s SHL production (three points in 26 games) doesn’t look strong relative to other Swedish players, Lysell averaged just 7:22 of ice-time per-game, often lining up as the team’s 13th forward or on the fourth line. That he scored at all is important, and playing against men was an invaluable experience that showed when Lysell went “down a level” at the U18s, where he was Sweden’s best player.

Scouting Report

Lysell is an agile, aggressive skater with a safe floor. Why? Because he applies his work rate offensively and defensively — as the first forward pressuring puck carriers defensively, or as the primary puck carrier breaking out through the neutral zone offensively. Lysell’s got four-way mobility, can fly at the net, and has quick hands to beat defenders one-on-one, something he especially loves to utilize when he cuts to the middle.

He projects as a strong playmaker, especially on the half-wall, as opposed to a shooting threat. He looks to make dangerous pass attempts regularly after utilizing his hands and edges to open lanes, and like Tim Stützle from last year’s class, he plays with a lot of courage. The ‘wow’ factor is there with Lysell like it is with Kent Johnson, as he can dance defenders with his speed or quickly turn a bad puck into a scoring chance.

He didn’t have a lot of opportunities to utilize his playmaking among men in the SHL, and was seen panic passing under pressure at times. Reports were clear in noting that they’d love to see Lysell slow down a little to assess his options in a controlled way before ramping up his pace, as opposed to always going at top speed. Unlike others in this class, he’s got the tools to buy himself time; it’s how he’ll utilize it to be as effective as he can be against the pros that’ll determine his ceiling. Being able to change speeds and diversify his rush patterns will not only open up space for his linemates to take the open ice Lysell creates, but will also allow him to be more creative with the puck on his stick. Moreover, I’m uncertain on Lysell’s ability to evade pressure reliably. It’s a skill that didn’t show up consistently in his SHL time — no surprise — but came out against his peers. Some of it might have to do with Lysell playing with teammates who couldn’t keep up with his pace; if he’s playing with players who can, like, say, Alex Formenton and Shane Pinto, maybe he’ll have some space to manipulate the game through that as well. We’ve seen time and time again that players with speed are able to make up for their slight frame, especially ones with Lysell’s assertiveness with the puck. I’d be willing to make a bet on that as opposed to chalking up these concerns to limitations due to his size.

Data

We don’t have much data to analyze for Lysell. Will Scouch presented his tracked information in his report (linked below). In it, Scouch moreso noted issues with Luleå as a team limiting Lysell’s ability to generate dangerous attempts on net as opposed to concerns with Lysell himself. In fact, Scouch’s data supports Lysell as a primary carrier of the puck through the offensive zone and puts him in the conversation with last year’s top group of Swedes.

Mitch Brown and Lassi Alanen tracked the U18s for EliteProspects, and observed that Lysell finished third, after Mason McTavish and ahead of Fyodor Svechkov, xA1/60 — the likelihood of a player’s shot assists resulting in a goal. They also noted that Lysell was the top Swedish player in terms of maintaining possession of the puck on exits and entries and his carries were less likely to result in turnovers. The data appears clear: against his age group, Lysell is capable of starring with consistency.

Fit with Ottawa

A high octane right-shot winger ticks a lot of boxes when you look at Ottawa’s organizational depth chart. After Drake Batherson and Egor Sokolov, the depth on that side looks rather thin, and neither of the former players are possession wingers with speed to burn like Lysell is, nor were they as highly regarded in terms of their skill with the puck at Lysell’s age.

Lysell has one more year on his SHL deal with Luleå, after which the team could look to bring him over North America to see how he fares at the NHL level. Lysell will be at the World Juniors Summer Showcase and should’ve garnered a lot of international goodwill with his team-leading performances at the U17s and U18s, so expect him to suit up at this year’s World Juniors tournament as well.

Further reading, watching, and listening


Oskar Olausson

Pos Team League Height Weight Date of Birth EliteProspects Consolidated Ranking
Pos Team League Height Weight Date of Birth EliteProspects Consolidated Ranking
LW/RW HV71 SHL/J20 Nationell 6'2" 181 lbs 11/10/2002 #20

Background

A smart, left-shot winger with many pro-ready tools, Oskar Olausson caught my eye as a rare draft-eligible player at the World Juniors who was always in the right place.

Olausson has succeeded at every level across HV71’s junior system, reliably producing at the U16, U18, and U20 levels before his breakout campaign in 2020-21. He played 16 games at the U20 level, scoring 27 points (14G) to rank fourth in the league in points-per-game and finish with the fourth-highest points-per-game mark as a draft-eligible player. It’s a deceptive statistic because many top draft-eligibles suit up in the SHL, but I don’t want to fault Olausson for his ice time, especially because he did play against men after returning from the World Junior Championships. He garnered four points in 16 games with HV71’s poor SHL squad, and had six points in 11 games during his loan with Södertälje in the Allsvenskan. As HV71 was shockingly relegated this past season, Olausson will likely suit up at the Allsvenskan level for the entirety of next season.

Scouting Report

Olausson is intriguing because he blends so many tools together into an enticing package. He’s a developed skater, with strong acceleration, top speed, and maneuverability with a sense that allows him to change speeds, shift his weight, and break through opposing defensive schemes. He confidently generates zone entries with control, and wasn’t scared to hang onto the puck when attacking against men this season. In the offensive zone, he often looks to take the puck straight to the net. When you add a 6-foot-2 frame onto this profile, you have the foundation of a strong, middle-six winger who can transport the puck and finish among pros — an enviable package.

On the flipside, everything Olausson could do has also led to scouts, well, wanting him to do it all consistently. Reports noted that Olausson isn’t overly physical for a player his size and can be angled to the outside. I’d moreso like to emphasize comments around his in-zone work rate — being able to apply his skating to pressure with pace like Lysell does — and to use his teammates more once he’s in the zone, as clear opportunities to score off the rush might not appear as frequently in the NHL.

Data

The only data I found to present on Olausson comes from Mitch Brown, who tracked four of Olausson’s games at the World Juniors. Remember: Olausson was playing against the top talent of earlier draft classes and not his peers. So, while he didn’t score, seeing his ability to protect the puck on transition and contribute to defensive retrievals ranking near the top of Brown’s dataset indicates to me that Olausson is able to keep up with the pace of play against older players and contribute in a manner befitting of his role on a talented Swedish team. He was extremely noticeable on entries and exits through the neutral zone, and it’s a good sign as to how that part of his game might project moving forward.

Fit with Ottawa

While Ottawa’s depth chart of left-shot wingers makes taking Olausson seem excessive, I wonder if the fact that he might be pro-ready sooner is enticing. It would mean that he’d be able to contribute to this generation of young Senators prospects as soon as the 2022-23 or 23-24 season, at a time when the organization might be in need of some value on entry-level cap hits. The team will eventually look to parlay prospects into NHL pieces, so I don’t want to get into the trap of ruling out interesting prospects just because their current position on the proverbial depth chart is non-existent. Olausson’s safe floor and historical scoring ability scream middle-six winger, and that’s valuable — either if you’re picking 10th or if you trade down a few slots but don’t want to miss gambling with your last high pick of the “rebuild.”

While I noted earlier that Olausson is scheduled to suit up for HV71 in the Allsvenskan, he was also recently selected in the CHL Import Draft by the Barrie Colts. Mikael Holm mused about this selection, noting “There is no way the NHL team who drafts Olausson wants him to play fourth line minutes in the second tier Swedish division in his D+1 year. This post is pure speculation from me but I could definitely see Olausson go to the OHL next season.” Olausson plays the style of game that could thrive in the fast-paced OHL, and it would give the Sens the ability to closely monitor one of their top talents.

Further reading, watching, and listening


Matthew Coronato

Pos Team League Height Weight Date of Birth EliteProspects Consolidated Ranking
Pos Team League Height Weight Date of Birth EliteProspects Consolidated Ranking
LW Chicago Steel USHL 5'10" 183 lbs 11/14/2002 #21

Background

Playing for the top-tier development program in the USHL, Matthew Coronato had a draft season to remember. The final total: 57 goals in 59 regular season and playoff contests, with 41 assists to boot. Only Tomas Vanek, back in 2001-02, is in the conversation with Coronato when you look at goal scoring production among draft-eligible USHL players.

Let’s put Coronato’s game in context. The only draft-eligible player on his line, Coronato was the beneficiary of numerous passes from the league’s top playmaker, Montréal fourth-round pick Sean Farrell, and didn’t have to drive his line. However, he didn’t play with Farrell in his rookie season and still scored 40 points (18G) in 45 games — decent production, even if not upper echelon — for a potential top draft pick.

Figuring out what Coronato can do while playing in such a premier environment will be essential in determining how might project to the next level.

Scouting Report

Sens fans have been blessed over the years with players who, despite their slight frames, have played “up” their size. Well, Coronato is one of those, showcasing fearlessness with the puck, high-end work rate in all three zones, and the determination to win battles in every part of the ice. Coronato can create controlled entries, and then drive threat through his vision or through his off-puck movement by getting into a quiet area of the ice after distributing the puck. It’s an indicator of his hockey sense, and is what allows him to thrive despite not having good physical tools or high-end skating ability. His sense is what allowed him to command the Steel powerplay from the half-wall, acting as a dual-threat playmaker or one-time shooting option, and he killed penalties. He’s detailed, and that comes out whether he’s forechecking, whether he’s trying to break out oncoming rushes, or whether he’s trying to manipulate players with the puck on his stick.

Coronato’s physical tools are his primary weakness. He could stand to improve his strength like many young players to help him play his style of game at the next level, and could improve his four-way mobility to integrate further rush patterns into his arsenal. There are always questions about a player with a 5-foot-10 frame who can’t burn defenders with raw speed or agility. For a player with his production, you rarely see his shot listed as a mechanical wonder like you hear with McTavish or Lucius. That’s in part because most of Coronato’s goals don’t look special — they’re due to his hard work putting him in the right place at the right time to score. The big question is: will that be enough to make him a top-six forward in the NHL?

Data

Mitch Brown is our only source of tracking data on Coronato. We predictably see him rank near the top of CHL and USHL players who are able to drive goals through shooting (xG/60) or playmaking (xA1/60), but he looks decidedly average in terms of his metrics in transition, puck retrievals, and defensive breakups. In fact, while there’s evidence that he’s attempting a lot of entries and exits, in the 13 games of data Brown has on Coronato, his controlled success rates are 48 and 49% respectively. What could this mean? One interpretation is that USHL defensive schemes are able to stymie Coronato most of the time, he’s just also relentless in his determination that he’ll eventually succeed a few times a game, and when he does, those attempts are converting to goals.

Fit with Ottawa

The Senators haven’t hesitated to draft of the USHL in the past, noting that it’s a tough league to get goals in when they drafted Shane Bowers in the first-round in 2017 and Shane Pinto in the second-round in 2019. Like the other players we’ve profiled with goal scoring tendencies, Ottawa’s need here stands out. They don’t often draft players under six-feet, but I imagine they love his work rate and compete.

Coronato’s off to Harvard University and the ECAC next season and it’ll be another test to see if his production can hold up against tougher, bigger, stronger collegiate opponents. The ECAC isn’t the association’s toughest conference, so we should get some better data to assess how much of his offence might be able to translate as soon as next season.

Further reading, watching, and listening


This set of profiles covered players who firmly project as wingers. Are you against the team using their top pick on one? Why or why not? Let us know your favourite of these three in the comments!