Photo courtesy of UConnHuskies.com

Fantasy Summary

Very small but very talented offensive forward. A boom-or-bust prospect. Perfect trifecta of talent.


Observations

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June 2022 – The Islanders signed the skilled, pint-sized Russian to a two-year, entry-level contract with an $855 cap hit. He played the past two seasons in Europe and it seemed the Isles might lose him. However, they signed him when he got his release from Mannheim after a 25-game, 22-point season in Germany. Expect him to make his pro debut in the AHL. Mark Allan

March 2022 – He hasn’t grown vertically from 5-8, but the Russian Smurf has added 11 pounds, bulking up all the way to 163. He’s holding his own with two goals and 11 assists with Adler Mannheim in Germany. Those numbers are comparable to what he did with TPS in the Finnish Liiga after two NCAA schedules. Whether he can thrive or even survive as a North American pro is the real question. The Isles have not yet signed their 2018 43rd-overall pick. Mark Allan

July 2021 – The skilled yet diminutive forward is staying in Europe after signing a one-year deal with Adler Mannheim of DEL, Germany’s top pro hockey league. The Islanders retain his rights until Aug. 15, 2022. If the 21-year-old doesn’t sign by then with the team that drafted him in the second round, the Isles will lose him to free agency. Mark Allan

March 2021 – After consecutive 32-game, 21-point collegiate seasons with the UConn Huskies, Russia’s 5-8, 152-pound version of Theo Fleury posted six goals and 19 helpers in the first 37 outings for TPS in Liiga, Finland’s top pro league. The 20-year-old former second-round NHL draft pick doesn’t have an easy road to the big time. Like Fleury, he doesn’t seem like someone who gives up easily. Mark Allan

January 2021 – The ultra-skilled, pint-sized forward is holding his own in Finland’s top hockey league. The 5-8, 152-pound dervish has three goals and 11 assists in 23 appearances for TPS in the Liiga. The Islanders have not signed the 20-year-old Russian. Mark Allan

November 2020 – You expect puck wizardry when a player is nicknamed Mr. Magic. Iskhakov is delivering in Finland after the pandemic persuaded him to forego his third NCAA campaign and turn pro with TPS in the Liiga. He had two goals and six assists in eight games of a pre-season, three-on-three tournament, tying him for the most points. He added two scores and three helpers in nine Liiga appearances. The 5-8, 152-pound Russian Smurf will need some stickhandling sorcery to make it to the NHL. Mark Allan

June 2020 – Iskhakov unexpectedly signed a one-year contract with TPS in Finland, turning pro after two identical 32-game, 21-point collegiate campaigns with the UConn Huskies. It will be his first time in the Liiga but not the first time playing against men. He had 30 points in 33 games as a teen in 2017-18 in the MHL, the Russian equivalent of the AHL. One season in Finland’s top league might be good for the Moscow native’s development, and he could be in the actual AHL for its 2021-22 schedule. Mark Allan

May 2020 – Although he’s not developing vertically, the 5-7, 165-pound mite has added 13 pounds since the U of Connecticut season began. As long as it doesn’t interfere with his eye-popping stick-handling and breathtaking skating, that has to be a positive development. After 32 games, he has the same number of points as he posted in as many games as a freshman for the Huskies. Many college players begin to blossom in their junior campaign, which should add some clarity about his potential. Mark Allan

March 2020 – The Russian’s reputation as a sublimely skilled player is growing at the U of Connecticut, although he isn’t. A mere 5-7 and 152 pounds, the 19-year-old forward has raw skill to spare, including breathtaking puck-handling and dazzling mobility. Forty-two points in his first 63 appearances for the Huskies isn’t impressive, but Iskhakov works hard and is surprisingly physical as he competes aggressively for pucks, including in front of opponents’ nets. If he doesn’t grow and add strength, he likely won’t make it as a pro center. His junior season will offer a better hint about his potential. Mark Allan

April 2019 – Ishakov had no trouble getting accustomed to the North American game in his first season at the University of Connecticut with 21 points in 32 games. If he can continue to build on this performance in the coming seasons and learn to play against bigger opponents with his small frame, we should see him make a splash with the Islanders. While he has supreme offensive skills, he will have to learn how to keep himself protected as he was on the receiving end of some big hits this season, most notably one that took him off the ice on a stretcher in October. Nate Duffett

November 2018 – Last month, Ruslan Iskhakov made a huge splash in his collegiate debut with a goal and an assist. Days later, he was hospitalized for precautionary reasons after being stretchered off the ice following a big hit. The hit looked far worse than the degree of the injury as he was released the next day and resumed playing shortly after. Since returning, the splash has all but dried up as Iskhakov has only two goals and four points in 10 games. Deceptively slick hands, an extremely high hockey IQ, and speed like the wind are plenty of reasons to be excited. If this dynamo manages to stick in the NHL the fantasy ceiling will be very high. The big question mark is due to his small size. Given two or three more years of development, if capable of playing as electric against stronger opponents, expect a home run. Jesse Sherman

June 2018 – Iskhakov was drafted 43rd overall by the New York Islanders. Iskhakov is very small (5-8, 152) but he’s a magician with the puck. He has drawn some comparisons to Pavel Datsyuk because of his ability to steal pucks and his ability to embarrass opposing defenders and goalies with this flashy moves. Iskhakov has spent some time playing center but has been more successful when playing wing, and with his size, it’s difficult to see him at center in the NHL. Iskhakov spent the past season playing in Russian junior league but he is expected to play NCAA hockey with the University of Connecticut next season which is probably why the Islanders felt comfortable using a high second round pick on him. He will need some development time but his offensive upside is huge if he can overcome his lack of size.  Jokke Nevalainen

Attributes
Fantasy Upside 6.5
NHL Certainty 5.0
Country RUS
Position RW
Roster Type Junior
Shoot/Glove Left
Date of Birth July 22, 2000
Height 5‘8”
Weight 163 lbs
Drafted 2018 Round 2; Overall: 43

Stats

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2015-2016 Spartak Moskva U16Russia U1628 11 1930 4|        
  HK Trnava U18Slovakia U186 2 13 2|Playoffs11 6 28
  Team Moskva U16Districts Cup U166 1 78 2|        
 2016-2017 HK Trnava U18Slovakia U1844 42 62104 28|Playoffs11 9 918 18 
 2017-2018 Krasnaya Armiya MoskvaJCWC5 0 22 2|        
  Krasnaya Armiya MoskvaMHL33 6 2430 2|Playoffs