It seems that the Arizona Coyotes lines are pretty well set for the upcoming 2019-20 season. The fourth line is where it starts to get interesting. With the arrival of fifth overall pick in last years NHL draft by the name of Barrett Hayton things start to get complicated. Does head coach Rick Tocchet alternate between Hayton, Connor Garland, and Christian Fischer? One of those players will be having a seat in the press box on a regular basis.
Arizona Coyotes Christian Fischer Needs to Excel
Fischer will be in the final season of his entry-level contract. If last season was any indication, he needs to see improvements in his development. He only accumulated 11 goals, seven assists in 71 games played. That was quite a drop-off from his previous year when he 15 goals, 18 assists in 79 games.
What he has in his advantage is his size. Standing 6′ 2″, and coming in at 214 pounds means he can get into those corner scuffles and hold his own. He is also fairly effective screening the opposing goalie or hanging around for a rebound.
What Fischer must accomplish now if he wants to stay on the team is to start to put it all together, something he failed at last season. He could be left as the odd man out if he doesn’t. This is especially true if Hayton makes the team, and he is expected to do just that.
Fischer on the Bubble
With this being Christian Fischer’s last year of his entry-level contract, if he doesn’t perform up to expectations (whatever they are) he could be on the bubble to be traded. It had been rumoured that the Minnesota Wild were interested in Fischer when they were shopping Jason Zucker in May. At that time Christian Dvorak was also another player now-fired general manager Paul Fenton of the Wild was inquiring about.
It all seems to hinge on how well Hayton fits into the Coyotes lineup when the new season begins. Hayton is a centre but the team has an overload of centres and may try him on the wing at least until he adjusts to the NHL level of play. It may be more logical to allow the 19-year-old forward to play with a veteran centre until he can handle things responsibly.
If Garland performs as well as he did last season, it may be tough for Fischer to crack the starting lineup. Garland collected 13 goals, five assists in 47 games. He also was an effective shooter scoring on 11 percent of his shots. Compare that to Fischer’s 9.6 percent shooting accuracy over his last two full seasons in a Coyotes uniform.
What Fischer Could Bring Back in a Trade
Fischer alone would not bring back much of a return to the desert. He would need to be part of a larger deal. While he possesses potential, he is yet to prove himself as anything more than a fourth-line contributor. He is part of the youth movement that has brought many talented players to Arizona such as Clayton Keller, Christian Dvorak, Jakob Chychrun, Lawson Crouse, and most recently Connor Garland. The latter three excluding Garland have signed long-term contracts. Keller is going into the last year of his entry-level contract.
There may be yet another move that general manager John Chayka will make before he’s done dealing this summer. Could Christian Fischer be on the move? Chayka improved the offence significantly by acquiring Phil Kessel on June 29th. He made it clear he intended to get the team out of its scoring woes. While Fischer is a good asset to retain, it only becomes pertinent if he produces. His development has not progressed at the level of the other young players.
And that could bring him into the picture as a trade option.