NY Islanders prospect and shootout magician Ruslan Iskhakov shows off more wizardry

New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

New York Islanders prospect Ruslan Iskhakov has a deep bag of tricks, and last night, the diminutive trickster reached into it again to deliver another highlight reel shootout goal that went viral across hockey fans.

Iskhakov's between-the-legs goal on Saturday night lifted Bridgeport to a 3-2 shootout win over the Hartford Wolf Pack at Total Mortgage Arena. We've grown accustomed to this display of breakaway magic from Iskhakov, a 2018 second-round selection (43rd overall), who is Bridgeport's leading scorer this season with 15 goals and 25 assists in 55 games.

The call from the play-by-play announcer said it all. "He's a wizard with the puck...a chance to win it here in the bottom of the third ....Ruslan Iskhakoooovvvv...oh my goodness, what a goal, what a win!"

The B-Isles also got a shootout goal from prospect Matthew Maggio, who remains red hot in his first full American Hockey League season. William Dufour scored a goal in the game as well, making for a fun night in front of the home fans as the team's top prospects all delivered.

Last February, the two-time AHL All-Star scored a similar goal, going between the legs and top-shelf against Philadelphia Flyers prospect Sam Ersson, who has appeared in 37 games for Philly this season. He tried a similar move during that season's skills competition but was denied.

There were rumors last month that Iskhakov, who was born in Moscow, would go play professionally in the KHL after this season, as despite his offensive production and more than capable hands, he has failed to get an opportunity in the NHL. “Ruslan is playing to earn an opportunity to play in the NHL,” agent Dan Milstein told The Hockey News.”All contract and league discussions won’t take place until the summer.”

The Islanders are not rebuilding and it's difficult to see where exactly a player with Iskhakov's skill set fits in with the current roster. Still, it would be disappointing to see a second-round pick become an AHL All-Star and not get even a look at the NHL level. If nothing else, his presence would help the Islanders in the skills competition that is the shootout.

The Islanders have won just four of their last 20 shootouts, and Ilya Sorokin is now the franchise leader in shootout losses. As we are finding out again this season, all those points matter, and securing shootout wins helps build momentum.