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Preds Previews: Mike Fisher

by Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

He may no longer put up the offensive numbers he once did, but Mike Fisher’s part in the success of the Nashville Predators is just as important as ever. The veteran center is set to begin his sixth full season with the Preds in 2016-17, and as the second oldest player on the roster at 36, Fisher is relied upon to be a model of consistency on and off the ice.

He did just that in 2015-16, as he ranked third among NHL forwards in blocked shots with 74, the eighth time in 10 seasons he finished among the Top 10 in blocked shots by forwards. He also set a career high in face-off win percentage (53.4), while taking 1,250 draws, the second most of his career. With the departure of Paul Gaustad, Fisher is likely to be the guy tasked with a must-win faceoff late in games. That responsibility comes in addition to his prowess in other situations on the ice, a list that is long.

Oh, and he happened to score a goal that ended the longest game in Predators franchise history, a moment that will be remembered for years to come.

“Fish is one of those guys that, for me, as a coach, is a very low-maintenance guy,” Preds Assistant Coach Kevin McCarthy said. “He’s a self-motivated athlete. He comes in, he prepares the right way both on and off the ice, and he’s a great leader in the room.”

Fisher has served as an alternate captain for the past four seasons, and, along with other members of the team’s leadership group, figures to be in the running for captain this season. Younger players often remark on Fisher’s role in that realm – not overly vocal in the room, but always doing things the right way, epitomizing what it means to be a professional hockey player.

“What you see is what you get from Fish,” McCarthy said. “Every game is a consistent game, and the biggest thing with Fish as he goes on here is to stay healthy. He does the right things in the summer to play those 82 games a year, so we just expect him to continue to bring what he brings to the team, both on and off the ice.”

Nominated for the 2016 King Clancy Award by his teammates, marking the fourth time in the past five seasons they’ve done so, Fisher played his 1,000th game last season and is entering the latter stages of his career. The upcoming season will mark the final year of a two-year deal for Fisher, but Preds General Manager David Poile has stated before he’d be happy to have Fisher on his roster for as long as he’d like to continue playing.

Fisher would be just fine with that, too. Besides, he may have some postseason heroics left in him.

“What the future holds, honestly I don’t really know, but I try not to look too far ahead,” Fisher said last season before his 1,000th game. “But there’s no question that there’s no place I’d rather be.”

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