We might as well begin by getting some basic facts out of the way about this particular Christian Fischer. No, he is not a lawyer. No, he is not a DJ and a music producer out of Leipzig. No, he is not a German entrepreneur hanging out in Stockholm as a PhD candidate. No, he is not an independent film maker out of Vienna. No, he is not a managing director for a Swiss-based company. No, he's not a soccer referee. And, finally, no, there is no relation. This post is all about the American hockey player, Christian Fischer. He could very well be available for one of the two second round picks that the New Jersey Devils have this year. Let's learn more about this one.
Who is Christian Fischer?
It is established what he is not and what he basically does. Per Elite Prospects, Christian Fischer is a right-shooting right winger. He was born on April 15, 1997, so he is now 18. At 6'1" and 212 pounds, it's safe to say he's got the size to play at a higher level. He was born in Wayne, Illinois and he went through Chicago-based youth teams before joining the United Stats National Team Developmental Program. He has been a part of the USNTDP for two seasons, participating in the World U-17 Challenge and World U-18 Championships. He has also racked up points.
Whether it was in the USHL, other U-17 and U-18 games against other programs, or international tourneys, Fischer has been very productive. His 64 points in 66 games ranked fifth on the team, behind Jack Roslovic, Jeremy Bracco, Matt Tkachuk, and the Auston Matthews. A near-point-per-game rate is always a good to see from a forward. One part of Fischer's future is set. He has committed to play for Norte Dame, per this November 2014 article by Becky Olson at the USNTDP website. Fischer appears to have the size and the production to move on to college hockey and eventually become an important player. The next part of his future will come later this June at the NHL Draft.
What Others Say About Christian Fischer
In just two words, one can sum up the type of game Christian Fischer plays: power forward. In fact, it's how he describes his own game. Fischer was featured in this February 10, 2015 edition of Ryan Kennedy's Prospect Hot List at The Hockey News. A bunch of it is about his connection to the Tkachuks, but here's the most relevant part:
Speaking of prestigious, Fischer is part of the latest crop of draft prospects at the NTDP and has been one of the top offensive players on the squad with 37 points in 43 games, including three in the last two games of the Five Nations. And he likes to keep it simple.
"Just being a power forward," he said. "Take the puck hard to the net, but also make the skilled plays and put the puck in the back of the net. I’d like to be more physical. With my big body, getting in the forecheck and throwing in a big hit every once in a while isn’t too bad."
Christian Fischer-I think I differ from the conventional wisdom a little bit on Fischer too. I've seen some people rank him late first round to early second round, and I haven't had him quite that high on my list. He's every bit of the 6-1 212 lbs. that he's listed at and uses it well. He hits, he protects the well along the boards. But the part that really intrigued me was that I thought he showed some really nice vision on a couple of passes. Still more of a second round-type pick for me, but I can see why people like him.
If you're wondering who would rank him late first round, then look no further than Chris Deems. He writes at Along the Boards and he used to cover the WHL for The Scouting Report (which is sadly defunct by the looks of it). In his midterm rankings in December, he listed Fischer at 28th with the following description:
One of the most physically ready players in the entire draft, highly competitive center Christian Fischer is a coach’s dream. A quiet leader on and off the ice, Fischer is a dependable two-way player with good offensive upside and is a very coachable player. Willing to do whatever it takes to help his team win, Fischer is a 200 foot player that may be a future NHL captain. Projects on the high end as a second line center in the NHL, but may be best suited in a third line/support type role. The type of player you want on your team when the meaningful games are on the line.
Deems updated his rankings in March at Along the Boards. He slid Fischer down to 30th, so he still thinks he's in that late first round, early second round bubble. His description is similar, which is a bit of a double edged sword. It's good because it means what's good about him is consistent. It's bad because there's no new revelation about the player. Here's what Deems wrote:
Gritty two-way center Christian Fischer is the type of player every coach wants on the ice when the game is on the line. A quiet leader, the best word to describe Fischer is reliable; as he does whatever it takes to help his team achieve success when he’s on the ice. Good defensively and with more than enough skill to get by, Fischer projects as second or third line center in the NHL, and has the makings of a future captain in the league.
The surprising thing about both descriptions - and Dilks' - is that not much is made about his offense. A few points here or there, but one would expect that to stand out given that he was a near-point-per-game player with the USNTDP this season. He was a point-per-game player at the World U-18s. It makes me wonder his production was a function of who he was playing with on the USNTDP more than a function of Fischer making things happen on the ice.
A Little Video
Wherever Fischer gets drafted and whatever happens with his career, he can make this one claim: he scored the fastest goal in USHL history. It took him six seconds. Yes, it was the result of a horrid turnover by Omaha. He still scored a goal within the length of a Vine. That's impressive on it's own. Here's a much longer than six second video of it by USHLinteractive:
TheHockeyVidz put together a short highlight video of Fischer at the World U-18 tournament. You can see Fischer's lone goal and some really nice passes from him. This helps justify what Dilks saw from him in November:
An Opinion of Sorts
The New Jersey Devils have two selections in the second round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. There are many ways they can use them, but I think most will agree that one of them should probably be a forward. The organization lacks offensive forward prospects. With three picks within the first 45 selections, this need can be addressed. With Fischer ranked by Central Scouting Services at 37th among North American skaters (an improvement from 40th), it's reasonable to think that he could be available for either of the Devils' picks in the second round.
Would that be a good pick? Based on the information available, I'd think so. He would address a positional need among prospects. The fact he's been productive suggests he may actually have an offensive upside. While it was just a few clips, he could be quite a good passer of the puck. He uses his body but doesn't take a significant number of penalties, which is quite good. What few descriptions are out there about Fischer note he's responsible in his own end. These are all good things.
But should the Devils be willing to take more of a risk? Should they look for someone with more superlative offensive skill? Someone who was productive without being of a stacked USNTDP team? My general impression is that he would be a fine selection, perhaps a safe one. With two second round picks, the Devils could get Fischer, take more of a risk with someone else, and find themselves with something to look towards the forward position.
There will surely be more written about Fischer as the NHL Draft gets closer, and perhaps will get more insight about where he's projected. In the meantime, what do you think now about Christian Fischer? What about him intrigues you the most? What would you like to learn more about him? Would you be fine with the Devils drafting him in the second round if he's available? Please leave your answers, your other thoughts, and other findings on Fischer in the comments. Thank you for reading.