July 29, 2015

Enver Lisin

An explosive skater with good hands and a powerful shot, Enver Lisin was most effective when using his speed to drive to the net. He was a solid playmaker when he chose to be, but he tended to be a bit of individualistic player, overhandling the puck on solo dishes a little too often for any coach's likes.

The Phoenix Coyotes selected Enver Lisin 50th overall in 2004. He was a junior linemate of Alexander Ovechkin. Twice Lisin would win silver medals at the World Juniors.

The following season he joined Ak Bars Kazan for his rookie season as a pro. He thrived along side NHL talent that headed to Russia in droves due to the NHL lockout. Ilya Kovalchuk, Vincent Lecavalier and Alex Kovalev were among his teammates. Lisin was runner up as the top rookie in the Russian Super League.

Lisin remained behind with Kazan in 2005-06 once all the NHLers left. Surprisingly he had a setback season. He ended up playing on the fourth line with a revolving door of linemates and never found his stride. Still, Kazan won the league championship.

Lisin headed over to North America in the 2006-07 season but found himself mostly apprenticing in the American Hockey League for the first two seasons. That was once he agreed to report, however.

Lisin started the 2006-07 season with the Coyotes American Hockey League affiliate the San Antonio Rampage, scoring two goals in two games. He was quickly recalled to the Phoenix where he played 17 games at the NHL level but only contributed one goal and one assist. As a result the Coyotes tried to send him back down to the AHL, however he refused and got on a plane back to Russia. He finished off the season with six goals and two assists in 20 games with Ak Bars Kazan in the Russian Superleague.

For the 2007-08 season the Coyotes management convinced him to return to North America and he had a successful developmental season spending the majority of his time at the AHL level. He had 35 points in 58 AHL games and six points in 13 NHL games during that season.

"I liken him a little to Jiri Hudler when he came to Grand Rapids (AHL)," said Greg Ireland, San Antonio's head coach. "He skates better than Hudler. Hudler may have a little more touch around the net, but Lisin is good. He's willing to take the puck to the net, he has a real good touch and he has a real good release."

But, as Ireland points out, Lisin needed to learn the defensive side of the game.

"If you can't play without the puck, they'll slice and dice you up there (in the NHL). He needs to understand his responsibilities without the puck. how you get back on the back check, identify your man, get into position in the defensive zone.

"We're not trying to remold his game. We just want to make sure his next call-up is his last call-up."

Lisin became a full time NHL player for the 2008-09 season, playing 48 games in Phoenix, scoring 13 goals and 21 points. He also was lauded for his defensive effort, using his speed to compete at both ends of the ice. And he was quite adept at blocking shots.

After the season in July 2009 the Phoenix Coyotes decided to trade Enver Lisin to the New York Rangers for Lauri Korpikoski. Korpikoski would become an everyday NHLer and a regular contributor to the Coyotes over the next few seasons.

Lisin would spend just one season with the New York Rangers, contributing 14 points in 57 games. Lisin headed back to Russia for several more seasons, after that.

In 135 NHL games Enver Lisin scored 24 goals and 42 points.

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