2020-21 Team: MHK Dynamo Moskva (MHL)
Date of Birth: Nov. 1, 2002
Place of Birth: Solikamsk, Russia
Ht: 5-foot-10 Wt: 141 pounds
Position: Left Wing/Right Wing
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 7th (amongst EU skaters)
- The Puck Authority: 23rd
- DobberProspects: 96th
- Smaht Scouting: 96th
- Draft Prospects Hockey: 78th
- FC Hockey: 88th
- THW – Peter Baracchini: 55th
- THW – Matthew Zator: 80th
- THW – Andrew Forbes: 47th
Alexander Kisakov is a slight-framed, dynamic offensive facilitator with one of the top releases of this draft class. His November birth date makes him one of the oldest first-time draft-eligibles of the 2021 crop, but his lack of size makes his age more or less irrelevant, given how many of his draft-eligible MHL (Russian Under-20 league) peers are larger, sturdier and stronger than he is. His 73 points in 61 MHL games this season were the highest point tally on his team, the highest of any first-time draft-eligible, and the second-highest league-wide behind 20-year-old Stepan Nikulin of Loko Yaroslavl.
Of those 73 points, 36 were goals, which only trails 16-year-old phenom Matvei Michkov, who is currently set to compete for the first overall pick of 2023 with Connor Bedard. Kisakov’s goal totals are no fluke: the young Russian winger boasts a tremendous release, which blends soft hands, quick-twitch muscle activation, excellent weight transfer and catch-and-release ability to ensure maximal efficiency with each shot. He catches goaltenders by surprise, freezing them with a moment’s hesitation before releasing the puck right under the crossbar. He is also more than capable of getting in shooting lanes and tipping the puck away from the goaltender’s limbs, which will only help him score more goals at higher levels.
His edgework is also great in-tight, as shown in the clip above. He can switch between his inside and outside edges with ease and has incorporated many useful tools into his thoughtless habits, such as the “mohawk” seen in the previous clip as well. His speed buildup could be much better, as his weight transfer when striding and performing crossovers lacks a certain dynamism that other undersized skaters tend to have. And this hinders his ability to play in-between checks and free himself up some more. Kisakov does compensate for this, however, by utilizing his brain to often be at the right place at the right time.
Related: THW’s 2021 NHL Draft Guide
His ability to locate pockets of space before they open up and sneak behind defenders does a lot for his goal-scoring prowess, as he rarely has to beat a goaltender with a perfect shot. His soft hands free up a bunch of space for him to play with, but he can sometimes stickhandle himself into trouble — selectiveness will be a key teaching in the young forward’s development as he learns to choose his moments more efficiently, as well as learning out his tendency to require space to make plays. The MHL’s ice surfaces are similar to international rinks, which means much more time to make decisions. His physical presence is also an obvious disadvantage, but he has never played that type of game, and teams know that they won’t be getting a forecheck specialist in the 5-10, 140-pound winger.
Related THW Draft Profiles
Alexander Kisakov – NHL Draft Projection
Kisakov’s rankings are all over the place: the NHL Central Scouting Bureau has him 7th among European skaters, which would probably place him in the first round. And The Puck Authority seems to agree with their 23rd pick reserved for the Russian winger. But others like DobberProspects and Smaht Scouting place him just outside the third round, both at 96th overall. He will likely be a second-round pick but might slip into the first round if Columbus pulls a Yegor Chinakhov again with their 31st/32nd pick (to be determined following the Stanley Cup final), which they got from the Tampa Bay Lightning in the David Savard three-team trade. His profile resembles Chinakhov’s closely, and the Blue Jackets seem quite comfortable drafting out of the MHL.
“Kisakov is a pure goal scorer. He has an excellent wrist shot and a very quick release. His ability to toe-drag and change the angle on his shot before letting it go can cause issues for opposing goaltenders. Kisakov is a smart player who finds open space away from defenders and sets himself up to take a pass and fire it on the net. He also has a very good one-timer.” – Ben Kerr, Last Word On Sports
“Kisakov is a tricky prospect to evaluate because he does some things very well, but the weaknesses to his game are quite notable and seem hard to fix. He is truly sublime when he gets the puck on his stick, able to make fancy, high-end plays with it.” – Derek Neumeier, FC Hockey
- Offensive positioning
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Physical game
- Defensive prowess
Kisakov is a true boom-or-bust prospect; he has the potential to score 30 or more goals at the NHL level, but his overall game needs a lot of subtle fine-tuning to reach professional quality. While he is extremely dynamic with the puck, his skating issues will hinder his ability to explode past defenders and into open space. If his future development staff hides skating drills within shooting drills, it will help keep Kisakov motivated and tuned in — he clearly loves to score goals — while he unconsciously works on a weakness in his skating posture and stride. Expect Kisakov to be a long-term project with immense dividends if the right development team gets ahold of him.
Risk – 4/5, Reward – 4.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 9/10, Defense – 4/10
Kisakov won the 2020-21 MHL Championship with MHK Dynamo Moskva. He has no other awards or achievements so far.
Alexander Kisakov Statistics
Lebanese-Canadian hockey writer/Scout. I follow the draft very closely, working with both The Hockey Writers and DobberProspects to provide draft coverage and continue furthering my knowledge of hockey.