Indeed, Fisher intends to begin skating and working out on his own before joining the entire team for practices. The ultimate goal is to sign a contract before the Feb. 26 trade deadline and return to game action and pursue the one thing every hockey player dreams of.
It’s a virtually unprecedented move – only a handful of former NHLers have stepped out of retirement and back onto the ice to give it one more try.
So, what does this mean for Fisher and the team moving forward? Here are three things to watch for as No. 12 makes his return to Smashville.
Perhaps the most apparent and immediate impact from what Fisher’s return will mean to the Predators is what is presence will do inside the locker room and on the bench.
The leadership core is already strong. Led by Roman Josi as captain, Ryan Ellis, Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Mattias Ekholm also sport letters on their sweaters, while P.K. Subban, Nick Bonino and Pekka Rinne serve as veteran voices as well.
But putting someone like Fisher back into the fold, one of the classiest, most respected players in the game, can only be a good thing. Always a calming influence, expect Fisher to automatically become a trusted voice once more.
When the Predators acquired Kyle Turris in November, their center group instantly became one of the best in the NHL. Now, add Fisher back into the mix along with Johansen and Bonino? It can’t get much better.
Nashville’s fifth leading goal-scorer in franchise history with 109 tallies to his name, Fisher was primarily utilized as the second or third center in past seasons with the Predators. Johansen and Turris have the No. 1 and 2 spots locked up in that regard, so look for Bonino and Fisher to perhaps serve as No. 3 and 3a center options when the time comes.
Colton Sissons, who Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette often employs to win key faceoffs late in games, can still fill that role, but is also more than capable of moving to the wing if need be.
Fisher accomplished plenty over his 17 seasons in the NHL, but there’s still something out there he wants.
The 37-year-old has undoubtedly been paying attention to the success the Preds are having this season after last June’s run, and the desire still remains. Sure, he may not come back and put up unfathomable numbers, but does he really need to?
Having Fisher around again on a daily basis, on and off the ice for the next three-plus months, might just be what the Predators need to attain their dream. And while nothing is won in February, it’s impossible to ignore what a player and person of Fisher’s quality can deliver when they’re chasing something.