OAKVILLE, ON. — The Habs scouting department, led by the great Trevor Timmins, have done a great job in recent years producing gems out of the NHL entry draft. Carey Price, P.K. Subban, Michael Ryder, Jaroslav Halak and Max Pacioretty lead an impressive list of players who made their marks with the Canadiens due to good drafting.
The 2006 NHL entry draft was expected to be a good one for quality defenseman, something the Canadiens truly lacked behind Andrei Markov. Eventual first overall picks Erik Johnson, Jamie McBain, Mike Weber, Jeff Petry, Theo Peckham, Ty Wishart, Andrew MacDonald and others were expected to play big roles for their future clubs. However, very few of the defenseman lived up to their potential.
Johnson is currently having a strong career with the Colorado Avalanche with 300 games played. Weber, Peckham, McBain, MacDonald and Petry mainly play as depth defenseman on their respective clubs, with the other 56 selected in the draft playing only a combined 144 games, the majority not getting a sniff of action in the big show.
The Canadiens drafted one of them, two picks in front of Claude Giroux! At the time, scouts said Giroux was lacking size, which was something the Habs didn’t want. Looking back, I guess they didn’t want a top-5 NHL goal-scorer either!
With the 20th pick in the NHL entry draft, Montreal selected Minnesota High School student David Fischer (does Fischer have a video game featuring on the cover?) Known as a stay at home defenseman, Fischer received the Minnesota Mr. Hockey award for being the best senior high school player in Minnesota after posting eight goals and 30 points during the 2005-2006 season. Scouts “ooh’ed” and “ahh’ed” due to his tremendous skating fluency and ability to log big minutes during the younger stages in his career.
In 2006 – 2007, he played his first season as a freshman for the University of Minnesota in the WCHA. Canadiens management was hoping the transition from high school to university would be a smooth one, but it started what would be the beginning of the end. In 42 games, Fischer wasn’t able to produce much of anything in terms of offense, recording no goals and only five assists. Fischer’s sophomore season with U of M was a better one all around, even netting two goals and 14 points (third among team D-men) through 45 games. One thing is for sure, Fischer had durability: he had played in all 90 games over two seasons at the University level. He was improving, and it was hoped that he would be able to continue at the same pace and turn into the next great Habs defenseman.
However, that wouldn’t be the case. His overall offensive and defensive production would start to diminish the next two seasons that he played with in Minnesota, and wasn’t given a contract offer by the Canadiens when the time to sign him was up in 2010. After getting released to the free agent market that summer, the Vancouver Canucks gave him a tryout contract for their training camp — with Fischer getting cut before all was said and done.
Fischer would spend most of his professional career with the Florida Ever Blades of the ECHL. Signing there at the conclusion of the 2010 Canucks training camp, Fischer spent two years there, posting an impressive six goals and 50 points in 65 games. He even got a two game AHL stint with the Houston Aeros, but was released after three days. At the conclusion of the season, Fischer was one of the players who received a qualifying offer from Florida, but chose to sign with Heilbronner Falken in the not-so amazing Bundesliga, the second level of German professional hockey.
And that other guy? I’ll let you fill in the blanks about Giroux.
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