Islanders Ruslan Iskhakov healthy scratch for Finnish side TPS

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)

TPS center and New York Islanders second-round pick in 2018 Ruslan Iskhakov has been listed as a healthy scratch by his team.

New York Islanders 2018 second-round pick Ruslan Iskhakov is out in Finland with Liiga side TPS for his pro-season. Through nine games so far, Iskhakov has five points on the season.

Things started off well for the Russian forward after making the jump from UConn to Finland. In a 3on3 pre-season tourney Iskhakov was tied with Edmonton Oilers prospect Jesse Puljujarvi as the tourney’s top scorer.

In his first four regular-season games, Iskhakov put up five points. Again, things were off to a good start. But since then, it’s cooled off for Iskhakov. This is likely why TPS coach Raimo Helminen to scratch Iskhakov for TPS’s game today against KooKoo.

Looking for a Spark

Over his last five games, Iskhakov has gone scoreless for TPS. And is about as cold as ice in the faceoff circle winning 33.65 of his draws on average. He did register a shootout winner, against JYP on the 24th but that doesn’t count on the scoresheet.

TPS is looking for a shakeup. The team hasn’t picked up a regulation win over those last five games and have tumbled to 12th of 15 teams in the Liiga standings. Over their last five outings, they have one shootout win, a shootout loss, and three regulation losses being outscored 13-5.

Coach Helminen is clearly looking to change things and get his team back to winning ways by moving some players around.

With games on back-to-back nights (TPS play Otto Koivula‘s HIFK side on Halloween night), Iskhakov could very well be back in the lineup within 24 hours. Ideally rejuvenated and motivated to keep his position as the team’s number three center.

We’ve seen healthy scratches get the best out of players before. Just last season, Kieffer Bellows was a healthy scratch for a few games by Brent Thompson. Bellows responded by going-off and putting up eleven goals and twelve points in 13 games. Hopefully for TPS and Iskhakov, keeping out of the lineup today has the same effect.