Islanders prospect Ruslan Iskhakov has had an interesting journey over the last few years but he has secured his first NHL deal as CapFriendly reports (Twitter link) that the 21-year-old has signed a two-year, entry-level contract. The deal carries a cap hit of $855K and an AAV of $925K.
The forward spent his draft-eligible season playing in Russia but had committed to playing in college at UConn just days before the draft. As a result, he became subject to the four-year rule which meant that New York had until only next Wednesday to get him under contract even though his college days had already ended.
Iskhakov spent just two years in college before deciding to turn pro, signing with TPS Turku in Finland in 2020. He was quite productive in the Liiga, notching 38 points in 54 games but once again opted for a change of scenery for this season when he decided to play with Adler Mannheim in Germany. Iskhakov was similarly productive, albeit in limited action due to injury, as he put up seven goals and 15 assists in just 25 games, a good enough performance to convince the Islanders to sign him after he was granted his release from his German league contract earlier this month.
While he has spent two seasons in the pros overseas, it would be surprising to see Iskhakov jump to the NHL right away. Instead, it’s quite likely he’ll start next season with Bridgeport of the AHL, allowing himself to get reacclimated to playing in North America. But as a player who has been able to produce in good leagues overseas, he should become an intriguing recall option on a New York team that only finished 24th in goals scored this season.