#Isles Transactions: Anthony Beauvillier, Casey Cizikas, Kyle Palmieri and Ilya Sorokin have all agreed to multi-year contracts.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) September 1, 2021
Ilya Sorokin Staying With Islanders
Since it’s only his rookie season, Sorokin obviously logged time with just the Islanders. During that season, he registered 22 appearances, 21 of which were starts. The 25-year old backed-up veteran starter Semyon Varlamov. That tandem ranked as one of the league’s best all season long. Sorokin himself posted a strong .918 save percentage and 2.17 goals against average.
Sorokin registered 13 wins and an overall record of 13-6-3 with 3 shutouts. He also started five postseason contests and appeared in seven total this year. The Islanders needed Sorokin to come up big against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round especially with Varlamov struggling. In those games, Sorokin went 4-1 with a .922 save percentage and 2.79 GAA. Originally drafted in the third round, 78th overall of the 2014 NHL draft by the Islanders, the netminder looks to become a household starting goalie in the NHL.
What This Means for the Future
Getting Ilya Sorokin signed gives the Islanders quite a bit of confidence between the pipes. Thanks to his limited NHL service thus far, his head was exempt from the Expansion Draft. That allowed the Islanders to protect Varlamov too, leaving them with the same stellar pair they carried in 2020-21. Sorokin can continue to develop and take on more games as he does so. Ideally, he’ll be able to take over the crease from Varlamov entirely by the end of 2022-23, when Varly’s contract expires. If it happens sooner, the Islanders could even look at their options to move Varlamov elsewhere. That would add $5 million in cap space, and could garner a decent return too even if dealt as a rental.
One way or another, Sorokin’s rookie season instilled a lot of confidence for the Isles’ goaltending future. The Islanders play such a strong defensively-minded style of hockey, goalies thrive behind their system. That sort of protection helped Sorokin tremendously as a rookie, and he can now carry confidence forward into his sophomore season and (hopefully) beyond.
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