From High School To Blue Jackets Draft Pick: James Fisher Looks To Become Next 7th Rounder To Make It

By Will Chase on July 22, 2022 at 1:45 pm
James Fisher during the Columbus Blue Jackets developmental camp.
Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch

It's time to learn about James Fisher.

The Columbus Blue Jackets rounded out their 2022 NHL draft with Fisher, a forward who can play center or wing, selecting him with the 203rd pick in the seventh round.

The American-born Fisher is 18 years old and played with Belmont Hill School (USHS-Prep) scoring 28 points (17 goals, 11 assists) in 27 games. He's committed to playing with Northeastern University this upcoming season.

Corey Pronman of The Athletic had the following to say about Fisher:

Analysis: He’s a big winger who can shoot the puck and plays hard, but scouts think his skating needs work.

Kyle Watson with DobberProspects thinks there is a chance all seven Blue Jackets draft picks to make it to the NHL.

Here is Elite Prospects' scouting report:

Rushing the puck is Fisher’s game. With a series of driving crossovers and fast hands, he challenges defenders to race down the boards, colliding head on if necessary. If he gets the jump, he gets low and skates through the defender’s stick on his way to the net. In open ice, he presses the inside, then tries to break through the entire team himself. -EliteProspects 2022 NHL Draft Guide

As Andrew LeBlanc of Draft Prospects Hockey puts it, Fisher identifies as a power forward, using his six-foot-two size and 194-pound frame to drive to the net.

"Fisher is one of the most sought-after prospects in prep hockey," LeBlanc said. "The 2022 draft eligible is a power forward that can shoot from everywhere and has a knack for scoring. He plays physically and goes hard to the net; difficult for defenders to contain."

The recent draftee had a blast at the Blue Jackets developmental camp a few weeks back. As Bailey Johnson of The Columbus Dispatch points out, General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen understands what the opportunity is like for these guys at such a young age to get a chance to mix it up with other young professionals all trying to make the team and carve out their NHL path.

"I’m sure it’s an eye-opener for him," Kekalainen said. "Those are the big steps. Sometimes kids get drafted from the Tier II or Minnesota high school or the east coast (like) Belmont Hill. Then they come here and practice and play against some of the top juniors and top prospects in the world. He was a late pick, but I think it’ll be a great experience for him."

Similar to what we said about Dolzhenkov, it's going to be a while before we might see Fisher in the NHL. He'll get a chance to use his experience from developmental camp and from college with Northeastern University starting this year, and for subsequent seasons after that, to improve upon and refine his game.

Notable NHLers that have made it as seventh-round draft picks include Hall of Famer Doug Gilmour, probable future Hall of Famers Joe Pavelski and Henrik Zetterberg, former Blue Jackets captain Lyle Odelein, Stanley Cup champion Ondrej Palat, Erik Haula, and many others.

Fisher achieved the first part of his dream of being drafted by an NHL club. Now he starts his journey forward to try to become the next seventh-round draft pick to make a career in the NHL.