The Buffalo Sabres announced yesterday that forward Aleksandr Kisakov had signed a three-year, entry-level contract. The 19-year-old was selected in the second round (53rd overall) of the 2021 NHL Draft.
The versatile forward can play both left wing and center, and picked up 56 points (26+30) in 51 games last season with Dynamo Moscow of the MHL, Russia’s junior hockey league, and also played four games with Dynamo’s KHL club.
Hailing from Solikamsk, Russia, he ranked among the MHL’s top 10 skaters in goals (second, 36); assists (sixth, 37); and points (second, 73) in 61 contests during his draft season the year before. Kisakov scored a further 10 points (5+5) in 14 playoff games that year as Dynamo Moscow swept all to win the MHL league championship.
There had been concerns that the ongoing frosty relationship between the US and Russia, and subsequently the NHL and the KHL, would mean that Russian players in general would not join up with their North American teams, so signing Kisakov is a big step for Sabres GM Kevyn Adams.
Of the eleven picks the Sabres made in the 2021 draft, Kisakov is the third player to sign an ELC after Owen Power and Josh Bloom. With Jack Quinn and J.J. Peterka expected to make the Sabres roster next season, that opens up a spot for the agile winger. Despite his offensive potential, he still has work to do on his skating which relies more on his agility while he still has strides to take to improve his defensive game.
Still, this is a positive move for the Sabres organization as they look to keep the Amerks roster filled with talented young players that can contribute at the AHL and subsequently NHL levels in a couple of years.