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Islanders prospect Ruslan Iskhakov headed to Finland

Ruslan Iskhakov #22 of the Russian Nationals (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
Ruslan Iskhakov #22 of the Russian Nationals (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
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New York Islanders 2018 draft pick Ruslan Iskahkov turned pro and is headed to Finland.

In the second round of the 2018 draft, the New York Islanders selected Russian forward Ruslan Iskhakov. The 5’8″ winger had played in Russia during his draft year but was committed to UConn of the NCAA for the following season.

Iskhakov is a highly-skilled winger who put up 30 points in 33 games in the MHL, the Russian equivalent of the AHL. Moving to UConn in 2018-19, Iskhakov put up impressive performances and production for a freshman with 21 points in 32 games. In his follow up season, Iskhakov again put up 21 points in 32 games.

But for 2020-21, Iskhakov won’t return to UConn for his junior year. On Friday, Iskakov turned pro after

signing a single-year deal with Finnish side TPS

.

Going Pro

The Islanders expected Iskhakov would return to UConn for his junior year this season. Iskhakov also wanted to return to UConn for his third year. But, according to Jeff Cox of the New England Hockey Journal, that changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now Iskhakov is headed to Finland for a year.

TPS, a ten-time Liiga champion, ended their 2019-20 Liiga season 11th in the 15 team Finnish league with a 17-29-13 record for 69 points.

Iskhakov has standout offensive skills and creativity according to The Atheltic’s Corey Pronman (subscription required). TPS’s offense could certainly use that skill. They finished the 2019-20 season tenth in goals-for with 149. They could certainly use the offensive flair that Iskhakov brings to the table.

This is by no means a step back for Iskhkaov. In March, Hockey Graphs published a piece that sought to find out what league was the best. The Finnish Liiga ranked fifth in professional leagues behind the NHL, AHL, KHL, and the SHL. Well above where the NCAA ranked.

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This could prove to be a good move for Iskhakov. With a single year deal, he could very well be in the AHL by next season.

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