Ruslan Iskhakov Will Make His NHL Debut with the NY Islanders Tonight

New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils / Rich Graessle/GettyImages

The NY Islanders have announced that they’re recalling forward Ruslan Iskhakov from Bridgeport, who will presumably make his NHL debut tonight.

Iskhakov was a second-round pick of the Islanders in 2018, selected 43rd overall. Taken out of the University of Connecticut, Iskhakov made his rounds in Europe with stops in Finland and Germany before heading to Bridgeport.

During his rookie campaign in the AHL, Iskhakov finished with 51 points (17 G, 34 A), good enough for third in the AHL among all first-year players. This season he’s followed up with 50 points (18 G, 32 A) on a B-Isles team that finished near the league's basement.

Throughout his tenure in North America, Iskhakov has become known for his incredible goals in the shootout which have made their rounds on social media.

He recently transitioned to wing, similar to Mat Barzal, where he has a much better opportunity to make the Islanders NHL roster due to the team's log name at center. 

Participating in Islanders training camp over the last two seasons, Iskhakov has gained valuable experience playing alongside some of the Islanders' top players.

“Coming into camp, you haven’t played hockey in a long time, and you're very excited,” Iskhakov told Brendan Yerkes of The Hockey News. “Having a chance to play with some of the best players like Brock Nelson, Mathew Barzal, Bo Horvat, and playing strong, you get that good start during camp.”

Gaining that experience in camp is one thing, but now he’ll have the opportunity to do so on NHL ice.

Iskhakov is the second Islander to make his NHL debut, joining Kyle MacLean. He’ll wear number 37 tonight, a number last worn by Simon Holmstrom last season, and previously worn by Brian Strait.

With the Islanders sitting many of their regulars tonight in a game that does not affect the outcome of their season, it has created an opportunity for Iskhakov.

Warmups will be around 6:30 tonight where Iskhakov will take his rookie lap, and for perhaps the first time, Islanders fans will be hoping for a shootout.