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NHL Draft Prospect: Christian Fischer

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Player

Name: Christian Fischer

Position: Right Wing

2014-2015 team: US National Team Development Program U18

2014-2015 stats: 66 games played, 31 goals, 33 assists, 64 points

Final NHL Central Scouting rank: 37th among North American skaters

What are his strengths and weaknesses?

Listed at 6-1 212 lbs., Fischer has a big, wide frame and uses it effectively. He's very tough along the boards, using his size to knock opponents off the puck and win puck battles and using his frame to protect the puck when it is on his stick. What makes him an elite prospect is that he's not just a big body, but that he also has some skill to go along with it. He seems the ice well and moves the puck effectively in the offensive zone.

The downside for Fischer is that he trades off some foot speed for his extra physical prowess. His skating is good enough for a player his size, but he's not as effective in the open ice as he is working in tight spaces.

Is he trending up or down heading into the Draft?

Fischer started the year as a prospect just on the cusp of the late first round, and he more or less held that position for the entire year. He put together a solid season for the NTDP, averaging about a point per game while playing a second line role. If he had scored a little bit more and earned a spot on his team's top line, he likely would have pushed for consideration in the first round. But when you start the year ranked in the early second round, it's a lot harder to move up or stay in the same spot than it is to fall, so it was a pretty good year for Fischer.

Where is he projected to go in the Draft?

It's unlikely that Fischer sneaks his way into the first round of the Draft. The lack of success of former NTDP power forwards taken in the late first round, Tyler Biggs and Mike McCarron, may scare some teams away from taking him that early(though Fischer did score more than either, averaging about a 1.0 PPG, while McCarron and Biggs both averaged about .6 PPG). But it seems highly likely that Fischer is taken in the second round. Big, pro-style wingers that can score like Fischer has are really hard to find, so it's unlikely he slips that far.

How does he project as a pro?

This is pretty simple for Fischer because he won't need to make a big transformation to his game to play at the next level. He's a power forward that brings that some skill and playmaking ability to the game. He'll most likely top out as a second line winger that is very effective on both ends of the ice.

Where will he go next?

Fischer is committed to play college hockey at Notre Dame next season. He'll fit in very well on Notre Dame's team, which likes grinding forwards that can also make a skill play. The Irish return most of their top wingers next year so Fischer's role may be a bit smaller to start the season, but should grow as the season progresses with Fischer taking over as one of their top scoring threats as a sophomore. Two to three years at Notre Dame is likely the expected timeline for Fischer at Notre Dame before he signs with the team that drafts him.