The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Die By The Blade community. It was a combination of staff writers and over 600 readers that ranked Buffalo Sabres players under the age of 25 as of August 1, 2022. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production to rank each player.
Next up in the 2022 Top 25 Under 25 series is 2021 second-rounder Aleksandr Kisakov. The left-shooting forward will turn 20 this fall, having signed his three-year entry level contract earlier this year. He should be making his way from Russia to the AHL with the Rochester Americans, depending on the current diplomatic situation of course. He was unable to get his immigration paperwork processed in time to attend the Development Camp, but it should be done soon and he is expected in Buffalo for training camp next month.
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 MHK Dinamo Moskva swept all to win the MHL league championship.
Playing again last season in the KHL’s second tier, his numbers dropped slightly since his draft year when he logged 26G+30A in ten fewer games. He added another seven points in six playoff games as well, and also played four games with the KHL club as well without registering any points.
Here is a selection of Kisakov highlights from last season - he’s #52 for Dinamo who wear white/blue.
Per Dobber Prospects, his overall game certainly took a step forward last season beyond his pure offensive upside.
While Kisakov was previously a shoot-first prospect with great skating habits and an overall polished hockey sense, he’s added some great playmaking tools to his arsenal in the last year which have bolstered his offensive potential. He looks off his target, hides his intentions with his upper body, and pre-scans regularly to make sure his desired option is the best one.
Where the prospect still needs to get better at is something that the defense-optional MHL cannot help him with, which makes sense why the Sabres felt comfortable handing him an ELC and bringing him over to the AHL where he can develop his defensive abilities.
He’s still got a lot of growing to do, and his thin wiry frame could use more bulk on it. At Rochester he’ll have a more one-on-one coaching that will help him make that step forward and start to contribute right away, but a lot will depend on him being able to adapt to the physical aspects of the AHL.