Shifty, dual-threat offensive winger with defensive deficiencies and physical limitations. Great shot and intelligent playmaking give him a high ceiling, but there’s work needed to make him a sure bet at the NHL level.
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May 2022 – Kisakov had a tremendous 2020-2021 draft-year campaign in the MHL, leading all draft-eligibles and finishing second in league scoring with 73 points in 61 games, 36 of which were goals. Despite his production dropping this season ( 56 points in 51 games), the prospect’s game has matured and he has developed some good surrounding tools to supplement his goal-scoring ability and elusiveness.
While Kisakov was previously a shoot-first prospect with great skating habits and an overall polished hockey sense, he’s added some great playmaking tools to his arsenal in the last year which have bolstered his offensive potential. He looks off his target, hides his intentions with his upper body, and pre-scans regularly to make sure his desired option is the best one. His defensive game is far from polished, however, and playing in the MHL isn’t exactly doing him any favors. He has very few opportunities to develop that side of his game in a league where defense is more of an afterthought. His physical maturity hasn’t reached anywhere near its peak, either — at 150 pounds, there’s a lot of muscle to add to his 5-foot-10 frame.
The good news is that Kisakov will have all the odds in his favor now that he’s signed his entry-level deal with the Buffalo Sabres. He’ll likely report to Rochester in the AHL, where his defensive game is more likely to see its eclosion, and he’ll have a lot more staff surrounding him to monitor training and nutrition to add some muscle to his frame. He’s worth a flyer in a deeper points-only draft, given his refined offensive toolkit and relatively simple weaknesses. Hadi Kalakeche