GLENDALE -- With a deep prospect pool that features big names like Dylan Strome, Christian Dvorak, Brendan Perlini and now Clayton Keller, it’s easy to lose track of other Coyotes prospects. But forward Christian Fischer is doing everything he can to make an impression and is succeeding.
Arizona picked Fischer, who was coming off a 35-point season with the US National Team Development Program U-18 team, 32nd overall at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. He then made his home last season with Windsor of the Ontario Hockey League and the development of his game really took off.
|Christian Fischer. Photo by Norm Hall. |
Fischer finished the regular season ranked in the OHL’s top 10 in scoring, notching a team-leading 90 points (40 goals, 50 assists) in 66 games. He produced at least three points in a game 12 times and he had a 12-game point streak (14 goals, 8 assists) that lasted from Feb. 20 through March 18. In the playoffs, he tallied another three points (1 goal, 2 assists) in five postseason games before he and his teammates were bumped from the OHL Playoffs by Kitchener, captained by fellow Coyotes prospect Ryan MacInnis.
Fischer and MacInnis are rooming together at this week’s annual Prospect Development Camp, which concludes Friday.
Fischer’s season continued after the OHL Playoffs as he played six games for Arizona’s American Hockey League team. He raised his prospect stock there by notching three points (two goals, one assist).
“I thought I did really well there,” Fischer said. “That was a really big test for me to see if I could handle the pro game and I thought I did a pretty good job there. I produced there as well and I think that helps in my favor for training camp, letting them know that I can hop in that pro game and still be relied on, still have that impact.”
With a valuable year of junior hockey and some AHL ice time under his belt, Fischer is back for his second prospect camp. At 6-foot-2, 212 pounds, he’s one of the bigger prospects.
“I think things are going really well. On the ice it’s been pretty fun out there,” said Fischer, a native of Chicago. “There’s lots of competitiveness. It’s been pretty demanding with the practices. It’s not just lollygagging around out there, it’s pretty hard.”
|Christian Fischer. Photo by Getty Images. |
With prospect camp coming to a close on Friday, Fischer already is starting to look ahead to training camp in September. He has spent the whole summer in the Valley working with Coyotes Strength and Conditioning Coach JP Major, preparing for what he hopes will be an even longer stay in Arizona.
“I think I’m ready to take that step (to the NHL),” Fischer said. “I think a good foundation would be playing in the AHL like I did and having the impact that I did. That helped me a lot, to show management and their coaching staff that I could produce and do that in the NHL. So, I think I’m very close.”
Fischer still has junior eligibility left, and where he’ll play after training camp will be a tough decision Coyotes management will have to make.
“We love the way he’s developed in this last season,” Director of Player Development Steve Sullivan said. “Not really knowing much about him going into Windsor, (I was) pleasantly surprised, really happy with how he’s come along and produced at that level and was just a presence, a huge presence on that hockey club. We’re looking forward to how he looks in camp.”
Sullivan says a key factor at work for Fischer is his mature mindset. While he’s demonstrated offensive skill in Windsor, he has shown willingness to be versatile and to use his size and play with grit, and that’s something that could go a long way in his bid for a spot on a pro roster.
“If the production continues then great, you’re the power play guy,” Sullivan said. “But he also has the right mindset that if things do go sideways a little bit and he doesn’t have the same success on the scoresheet that he did in junior, he’s willing to do all the gritty work to make the lineup. That’s the person he is. That’s the mentality that we’re dealing with with Christian Fischer. He’s 19 going on 29, physically and mentally. He’s a great prospect for us.”