Paul Fischer – 2023 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Paul Fischer

2022-23 Team: USA NTDP
Date of Birth: January 30, 2005
Place of Birth: River Forest, IL
Ht: 6-foot-1 Wt: 195 pounds
Shoots: Left
Position: Defenseman
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2023 first-year eligible


Paul Fischer continued developing as a solid defensive defenseman in 2022-23. In his second season with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, he appeared in 56 games with the U18s, tallying four goals and 17 assists for 21 points, a nice increase from his 2021-22 season with the U17 team.

The fact that Fischer is a prototypical reliable, defense-minded blueliner reflects his pre-draft rankings but also underscores the fact that there is still quite a bit of upside that will interest NHL teams. Stay-at-home defensemen usually lack the highlight appeal of their more offensive-minded counterparts. Still, Fischer offers a lot that should make him one of the better bargain selections on defense in this year’s draft.

Paul Fischer USNTDP
Paul Fischer, USNTDP (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

At 18 years old, NHL teams will take note of Fischer’s continued development as he heads to Notre Dame to play for the Irish in 2023-24. One of the knocks in his game coming into the 2022-23 season was that he needed a great deal of improvement in his ability to move the puck. He improved in that area this season, adding some skill while still ensuring he monitored his own blue line.

Do not let Fischer’s pleasant disposition fool you. He is tough in his own end and has no problem using his body to block shots and pin attackers along the boards. He will also no doubt add some weight and muscle to his frame as he matures, which will further help him develop into a player that NHL teams can count on. The continuing development of his quick and accurate wrist shot will be an added benefit to his skill set as well.

One of the more intriguing factors in Fischer’s play is his skating technique, which may be his biggest asset. The former Chicago Mission stalwart can skate with power while maintaining great edges. He has been well coached in skating technique, something that also adds to his draft value and could make him one of the better bargains in this year’s draft.

Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide

Latest News & Highlights

Continued development at Notre Dame will help alleviate fears that, as a defensive-minded blueliner, Fischer lacks the upside to become a meaningful NHL player. This explains why there is such a gap among experts regarding his ranking and draft projection. For every person, like the Scouting News, who has Fischer as a top 10 defensive prospect, some have him toward the bottom of their rankings.

Of current NHL players, Fischer could end up becoming a player in the mold of Jaccob Slavin, who was originally thought of as a defensive player with some offensive upside when he was drafted 120th by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2012. He has become just that in his productive eight-year career in Carolina, which makes for a realistic NHL ceiling for Fischer.

Other THW Draft Profiles

Paul Fischer – NHL Draft Projection

Fischer’s draft slot will be dependent on how a team thinks that his offensive abilities will improve. If they think that he will improve in this area, he could be selected as high as the third round. If they think he will primarily be a stay-at-home blueliner, he may go as late as the fifth round. Overall, Fischer will likely be selected in the fourth round, which would make him a nice value pick for any team.


“Any team looking for a mobile offensive defenceman will definitely be taking a look at Paul Fischer. He is a strong and mobile defenceman with offensive upside. His skating abilities are a major aspect of his game and he has the potential to become an elite skater at the next level.” – David Ciss, Prospects for Sports Illustrated

“Paul is another guy that could be a really, really solid defensive force even as a freshman. He’s probably projected as a second- or third-round draft pick right now. He’s probably a little bit in the mold of Andrew Peeke — a good defender with some offensive tools” – University of Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson (from ‘Return of Bischel, Janicke and incoming freshmen have Notre Dame hockey coach upbeat’, ND Insider, April 7, 2023).

Paul Fischer USNTDP
Paul Fischer, USNTDP (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

“Fischer didn’t have any points in the November 2022 Five Nations Tournament, but played solid defense and showed how his mobility can be an asset. He’s got good physical strength, plays solid in his own end and seems to defend in transition especially well. Despite the lack of points, he moves pucks fine and has been productive in other competitions throughout the season. We’re still waiting for defensemen in this class to pop, but Fischer has been one that has trended up in recent weeks and certainly did not hurt himself with his performance in this tournament.” – Chris Peters, Flo Hockey


  • Outstanding skating ability
  • Moves the puck well
  • Not afraid to use his body

Under Construction – Improvements to Make

  • Offensive skill set
  • Add weight/muscle
  • Positioning to separate opponent from the puck

NHL Potential

If his development continues, Fischer has the potential to be a second or third-pair defenseman that plays on the penalty kill. His defensive game is strong, and he has shown on multiple occasions that he is not afraid to use his body in tough situations. He is an intriguing prospect that could end up being a solid contributor to an NHL roster.


Risk 3/5, Reward 4/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential

Offense 3/10, Defense 7/10

Achievements & Awards

  • Gold Medal – 2022-23 U18 World Junior Championship

Paul Fischer Stats


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