PROSPECT REPORT: Alexander Nikishin
Updated: Oct 22, 2019
Welcome to the third official prospect report from FutureScopeHockey. This report will likely be the longest and most in-depth look at a prospect, because he’s my favorite one. In my opinion, there isn’t a player in the 2020 draft as exciting as this one. Because there is just so much film, and so much to talk about, I’m going to break down his game, and then show 5 videos that encompass some of his best aspects.
Alexander Nikishin is a left-shot defenseman who currently stands 6’2 and weighs 196 pounds. He started this season with Spartak Moskva of the KHL, and has already picked up an assist. He averaged 9 minutes TOI in the first two games of the season, but has since played his way into the top 4, now playing 18 minutes a game.
Nikishin has high end skating ability, with an explosive stride and a near elite top speed. He’s very agile, but his narrow stance makes it hard for him to turn in tight areas. This isn’t a problem in his own end, as he rarely gets burned. When he needs to make a move, he covers a lot of ice. He loves the spin-o-rama, but he pulls off most other dekes in a gliding position.
He plays with the biggest edge i’ve seen since Raffi Torres, and that’s not an exaggeration. What prevents Nikishin from being thrown into the “goon” category, is the fact that he knows how to hit cleanly and effectively. That being said, he has quite a few Tom Wilson moments. Some of his hits would probably qualify as charging in the NHL, but the edge just can’t be taught. A team would be foolish to pass on Nikishin solely for that reason.
His hands are those of a top line winger. When he has the puck on his stick, it seems superglued. This allows him to pull off some of the most impressive dekes and zone exits/entries of all draft eligible players, regardless of position. He’s so talented that he’s usually his team’s first choice in the shootout. What makes Nikishin so unique is that he plays the exact same game in the offensive and defensive zones. Similar to P.K. Subban, he’s just as likely to pull off a wild deke behind his own goal as the opponents’ goal.
His passing ability is as good as could be, his specialty being the backhand saucer. He’s great at drawing the opposition in with a fake shot or deke, and then making a simple pass to a now opened teammate. He doesn’t make a lot of breakout passes, but that’s because he’s usually the one skating the puck out of the zone.
Video #1 encompasses his overall game-breaking ability
Video #2 encompasses his Subban style offense
Video #3 encompasses his massive hitting ability
Video #4 gives a glimpse of his rocket of a shot
And of course, video #5 is all shootout fun
In my opinion, Alexander Nikishin will be a top pairing, borderline elite defender in the NHL. For that reason, he's my #15 in a loaded draft class. Everyone should be excited to see how the Russian progresses through this season.