While Sabres fans were not met with good news last night, failing to move up in the NHL’s draft lottery, they do get a positive headline today. The team announced that prospect forward Aleksandr Kisakov, the 53rd overall pick last year, has chosen to cross the Atlantic and sign a three-year entry-level deal with the team. This news is made especially significant given the new relationship (or lack thereof) between the NHL and KHL, as many observers believe that signing players from the KHL could be made more difficult as a result of that development. That proved to be no issue with Kisakov, though, and he joins a Sabres organization that is overflowing with optimism after an uplifting past few months.
Kisakov, 19, is a speedy winger whose creative, pacey style of play saw him selected in the second round of the 2021 draft. Playing for Dynamo Moscow in Russia’s junior league, Kisakov posted 56 points in 51 games, leading his team. Kisakov’s success at the junior level paved the way for him to make his KHL debut, and although he went scoreless in four games for Dynamo Moscow at the KHL level, his mere presence on the ice there is reflective of his fast rise as a prospect. Kisakov went from only 18 MHL points in 2019-20 to 73 in his draft year, so the Sabres have to be optimistic that he will be able to maintain that breakneck developmental pace on North American ice.
The Sabres’ prospect pool is among the league’s best, and adding Kisakov directly into their system means their embarrassment of riches just got a little bit deeper. The team already boasts AHL Rookie of the Year Jack Quinn and has other top prospects such as John Peterka waiting in the wings. With Kisakov now in the mix, the next step for the Sabres will be bringing over fellow Russian prospect Prokhor Poltapov, who was selected 33rd overall at the 2021 draft.