Coyotes' Fischer being lured to Russia
Phoenix Coyotes winger Patrick Fischer
Former Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach Barry Smith, now the head coach and director of hockey operations for SKA-St. Petersburg in the Russian Super League, was quoted in Soviet Sport today as saying that he expects to sign Coyotes winger Patrick Fischer soon, in time for Fischer to join the team during their pre-season preparations in Finland taking place on July 12 - 23.
The 31-year old Fischer, an icon in his native Switzerland, played his rookie season in the NHL last year after signing a multi-year deal with Phoenix. As far as I can gather, his contract this season is a two-way deal in the neighborhood of $675,000. If what Barry Smith says is true, then presumably if Fischer doesn't think he'll make the Coyotes' NHL roster this season and will instead be sent to the minors, he would walk away from his North American contract and take SKA-St. Petersburgh's offer to play in Russia.
Smith went on to say in the Soviet Sport article that he is working on having a number of his former players in Phoenix join him in St. Petersburg. Presumably this won't include Enver Lisin, the former Coyotes prospect who yesterday signed with Khimik of the RSL. Lisin, who the Coyotes drafted in the second round of '04, was suspended by Phoenix last season after he refused an assignment to the AHL.
UPDATE 7/5/07 There are some additional comments from Smith in Sport Express today, regarding Fischer.
"If it happens that Fischer doesn't make the Coyotes' NHL roster, then he would come over to Russia to play for SKA. It's possible that Fischer would join the team (SKA) even before NHL training camps open in September. At the very least, whether or not he'll be on our team could be decided before the end of the summer."