Gritty winger provided the Red Wings with more than it appeared on the surface

Christian Fischer proved to be a 'glue guy' in the locker room this past season for the Detroit Red Wings, but his dip in offense leaves his future in doubt with the organization.
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Christian Fischer was a valuable player for the Detroit Red Wings' bottom-six forwards, but his productivity decreased from the previous year in Arizona.

Fischer, 27, a former Windsor Spitfire, provided the Red Wings with five goals and 19 points this past season over 79 games while maintaining an even plus/minus rating. The veteran winger proved to be a valuable contributor to Detroit's penalty kill, although he had a hot stretch in March, scoring three goals and five points over a four-game span. In turn, going through long stretches of the year without chipping in offensively, albeit Fischer wasn't expected to produce like a top-six forward or anything, but he had been coming off a 13-goal, 27-point season with Arizona the year prior, plus had produced double-digit goals three times in his career which undoubtedly led to general manager Steve Yzerman targeting the veteran winger in free agency this past summer.

Fischer wasn't utilized in a scoring fashion during his time with the Red Wings, playing just over 11 minutes per night and, of course, often in a checking role. In contrast, he played nearly 15 minutes a night with Arizona, allowing for a few more scoring opportunities. Fischer signed a one-year deal worth $1.125 million and is a prime candidate to be re-signed this summer. Fischer produced a Corsi For Percentage of 42.6 and a less-than-desirable Relative Corsi For Percentage of -4.5. He also finished the year with 32 blocked shots and 138 hits. His 5.8% shooting percentage was the worst of his career, but again, he was often utilized in a checking role with Michael Rasmussen and Andrew Copp on the third unit or skating with Austin Czarnik and Robby Fabbri on the fourth group used sparingly during even strength opportunities.

Christian Fischer struggled to match his previous scoring rate, leading to a below-average overall grade with the Detroit Red Wings in 2023-24.

Detroit Red Wings. Christian Fischer. Christian Fischer. C+. Forward

One thing I will say about Fischer is it became apparent that he was quite popular in the locker room. Players seemed to gravitate to the veteran winger, and he often dawned that big, goofy smile during his various interviews. Speaking of interviews, the one that stood out the most to me this past season was following the return of Dylan Larkin, who had been sidelined with an injury.

Fischer is the type of player who not only feeds off of the crowd (like most players). Although he's not a 'fighter,' his style of play is one that has a knack for changing the crowd's energy, particularly at home with a big-time blocked shot, maybe a diving clearing effort on the penalty kill, or banging the body while getting in on the forecheck. If Yzerman and Fischer's camp can agree on a similar deal or even a multi-year agreement that carries a similar cap hit as last season, I expect he'll be back next season and maybe beyond. Something is going to give, though, as the Detroit Red Wings are close to becoming a cap team (tight to the salary cap) after extensions with Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond are completed.

Also, if the Red Wings hope to extend Patrick Kane, they must show up to the party with around $5 million or more annually on a multi-year deal. Then there are Daniel Sprong and David Perron up front, along with Shayne Gostisbehere on the backend, all pending unrestricted free agents. Something is going to give, but a player like Fischer, who excels as a bottom-six forward and at an affordable rate, makes him someone who is likely retained this summer.