Michael Fisher – 2022 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Michael Fisher

2021-22 Team: St. Mark’s School (USHS-Prep)
Date of Birth: May 2, 2004
Place of Birth: Westborough, MA
Ht: 6-foot-2 Wt: 198 pounds
Shoots: Right
Position: Defense
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible

Rankings

Just barely 18 years old, Michael Fisher already possesses NHL size, standing 6-foot-2 and weighing nearly 200-pounds, but he can also skate like the wind and is arguably one of the best skaters in his high school league. He’s generally been put in shutdown positions thanks to his size and agility, but he’s no slouch with the puck. In 28 games this season, he put away an incredible 13 goals and 50 points, coming in second on the St. Mark’s Lions in scoring, and was also the highest scoring defenceman in any prep school hockey league in 2021-22. He was truly dominant any time he was on the ice; the next highest scoring defender playing high school hockey recorded eight fewer points, but it took him 62 games to reach that total. It may be an understatement to say that Fisher is a special talent coming into the 2022 NHL Draft.

Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide

However, until recently, Fisher wasn’t on many draft lists, thanks to his decision to exclusively play high school hockey for the 2021-22 season, which has made it a lot trickier to scout him accurately due to the lack of media coverage and available footage. It’s not uncommon for players to be selected from high school programs in the NHL Draft, but most of them have some United States Hockey League (USHL) games under their belt, which allows scouts to see how they fare in a more competitive setting. Both Scott Morrow and Jack Peart, two defencemen picked in the second round of the 2021 Draft, played the majority of the season in high school programs, but had a handful of appearances in the USHL in the same season, which better showcased their skill level to NHL teams. Fisher doesn’t have that, and thus he’s been largely left off the big draft rankings so far.

So, what changed? Thanks to NHL Central Scouting ranking him 52nd on their final list, he was invited to the NHL Draft Combine, where he ended up placing in the top-25 in 14 of the 16 fitness tests, including first in both the left and right agility tests. Despite the presence of big-name prospects like Shane Wright, Logan Cooley, and Juraj Slafkovsky, it was Fisher who stood out among them when it came to pure athleticism. Suddenly, more people were paying attention to him, trying to get a read on his potential and figure out where he may fall in the 2022 NHL Draft.

THW 2022 NHL Entry Draft Guide Shane Wright and Logan Cooley

The results are still mixed, though, as no one really knows if he’ll continue to dominate at the higher levels. Just a few months ago, Fisher switched his commitment from Princeton University to Northeastern University, likely due to his surprising success at the Combine. Northeastern has a long tradition of developing skilled defenders that specialize in suppressing scoring chances; just look at Montreal Canadiens’ prospects Jordan Harris and Jayden Struble, as well as the Colorado Avalanche’s Josh Manson, all of whom are alumni. That’s a promising start, as he’s been an effective two-way presence with St. Mark’s, but history also tells us that he will need plenty of time to adjust to the faster pace and more skilled opponents, and not all can make that adjustment.

The good news is that Fisher seems to be heading in the right direction. His skating is very smooth and fluid, which will translate to the next level, and he has some untapped offensive potential that could truly blossom in the NCAA. He seems to have few weaknesses in his game, and although that is more a result of playing against weaker competition, it’s clear that he’s not simply benefitting from just being bigger than other high schoolers. There’s a lot to like in this young defenceman, making him an excellent candidate to be one of the diamonds in the rough in this draft class.

Other THW Draft Profiles

Michael Fisher – NHL Draft Projection

Sometimes, all it takes is to excel at the right time, and Fisher’s impressive performance at the Draft Combine may have vaulted him into second-round consideration. He’s big, shoots right, and has oodles of potential, and there may be enough teams willing to overlook his long development track to grab him early on Day 2. Look for a team with a deeper farm system and the ability to be very patient, like the Detroit Red Wings, Vegas Golden Knights, or Minnesota Wild, to snap him up earlier than expected.

Quotables

“Fisher is electrifying on the puck, utilizing a variety of fakes to carry the puck up the ice. He’s daring, manipulative, and shows a wide arsenal of puck skills which he pulls out at the right times to make an impact in all three zones. Off the puck, there are some concerns, such as his tendency to lose a marker or struggle to close gaps quickly. This isn’t as apparent against teenagers in high school, but I expect him to have a tough first year with Northeastern as he learns to do these things on a more regular basis. He should adapt quickly, however, as his hockey sense is clearly above-average and he got better as his season went on. A team could take a swing at him as early as the start of the second round, especially if they have a hole on the right side of their defensive pipeline and don’t mind a long-term project.” Hadi Kalakeche, Dobber Prospects

“A big right-shot defenseman who skates exceptionally well…He has tremendous upside but will require a lot of patience. The athleticism he showcases, though, leaves plenty of intrigue in what he can ultimately become.” Chris Peters, Daily Faceoff

“…he defends well because of his strength and skating, and can make the aggressive play on offence (with the puck attacking or off of it to roam off the line when openings present themselves) or defence (with a quick closeout/active stick). He’s going to take some refining and I narrowly left him off of my list because I just want to see if he maintains his active play style against tougher competition or has to change his game, but the makings of a legit prospect are all there.” Scott Wheeler, The Athletic (from ‘NHL Draft prospects who missed the top 100, but should still be followed,’ The Athletic – 08/06/22)

Strengths

  • Skating
  • Athleticism
  • Maturity

Under Construction (Improvements to Make)

  • Raw skill
  • Offensive awareness

NHL Potential

Fisher is the definition of a boom-or-bust prospect. St. Mark’s is a strong program, but the same cannot be said for the other schools in his conference, and he undoubtedly benefitted from playing against weaker competition. His skill is very raw at this time, but he has all the tools to develop into a top-pairing defenceman in the NHL. However, there’s just as likely a chance he never makes it out of college. A big risk, to be sure, but one definitely worth taking.

Risk-Reward Analysis

Risk – 5/5, Reward – 5/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential

Offence – 7/10, Defence – 7/10

Awards/Achievements

Fisher was drafted by the Youngstown Phantoms in the fourth round, 54th overall, in the 2021 USHL Draft.

Interviews/Profile Links

Statistics

Videos


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