Editorials

Islanders prospect report: Ruslan Iskhakov’s hot start to life as a pro

New York Islanders prospect Ruslan Iskhakov. Photo property of TPS. Used by permission of Eero Tuominen (TPS Head of Marketing and Communications).
New York Islanders prospect Ruslan Iskhakov. Photo property of TPS. Used by permission of Eero Tuominen (TPS Head of Marketing and Communications). /
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A few New York Islanders prospects have begun their 2020-21 season in Europe, here’s the rundown on how they’re doing.

It’s October and we don’t have New York Islanders hockey to watch. It’s weird to see the NHL begin it’s offseason when the regular season should be beginning, but there isn’t anything normal about 2020.

However, there’s still hockey going on even though the NHL and AHL haven’t begun. The 2020-21 regular season is underway in Europe. Where six Islander prospects have begun their season.

To get your Islander fix here’s how each has begun their 2020-21 campaign.

Finland (Liiga)

Ruslan Iskhakov (TPS)

Iskhakov has been a delight for TPS so far this season. They already saw big things from him in the preseason. The Isles second-round pick in 2018 was the joint top-scorer in a 3v3 tournament this summer, scoring eight points in seven games.

In two games of regular season play, Iskhakov has provided the offense TPS thought he could bring when they signed him. He’s already scored a goal and set up another. Both coming in his first game of the season against Linus Soderstrom and Assat.

Iskhakov is only signed to a one-year deal in Finland. With plays like this, he’ll certainly find his way to the AHL soon.

Linus Soderstrom (Aces)

When I spoke to Soderstrom’s agent earlier this year, he told me the decision for Soderstrom to head overseas was to be played like a starter. His two years in North America were heavily impacted by injury forcing him to play just four games between the AHL and ECHL.

With Assat, Soderstrom is going to get the playing time he wants. Soderstrom started the season opener and put up a solid performance with a 0.923SV% for a 3-2 win over TPS.

Sweden (SHL/Allsvenskan)

Simon Holmstrom (Vita Hasten)

Holmstrom didn’t play in Vita Hasten’s season opener against MODO. I reached out to the team to find out why that was but they haven’t answered me yet.

I don’t think there’s much to this, but with Holmstrom’s injury history you never know. We’ll see if he suits up on Wednesday as Hasten takes on Bjorkloven.

Oliver Wahlstrom (AIK)

Oliver Wahlstrom’s offensive potential was never in doubt. The Isles eleventh overall pick in 2018 was drafted because he had an NHL caliber release and always found himself in an opportunity to score. Playing in Sweden for Allsvenskan side AIK, Wahlstrom continues to find the back of the net.

In two games, Wahlstrom has two points (a goal and an assist) both on the power play.

Scoring, and scoring on the power play will bring a smile to any Islanders fan. With a cap hit that falls under $1 million there’s a real chance the Islanders bring him in for the start of 2020-21 if he keeps this up.

Robin Salo (Orebro)

Since making the jump to Sweden from Finland midway through last season, Salo is one of Orebro’s top blueliners. Already this season, Salo has three points in four games played.

It’s worth keeping an eye on Salo who could very well be headed to North America soon. He’s signed through the season with Orebro so perhaps once the season is over he makes the move across the Atlantic.

Russia (KHL)

Anatoly Golyshev (Avtomobilist)

Golyshev gets to play alongside Pavel Datsyuk with Avtomobilist. Datsyuk might be 42, but he’s still a top player over in Russia. Through 12 games, the two-time Stanley Cup champion and three-time Selke winner has 14 points.

Much to the benefit of Golyshev who has eight points (six goals) through nine games. That puts him on pace for 51 points over a full season. Shattering his career-high of 44 from 2015-16.

Golyshev should be here next season according to a statement he made just six months ago. He’s not likely to set NHL records when he gets here, but it seems that he could be a good depth goal-scorer for 2021-22.

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