On top of the New York Islanders to-do-list is to find a number one net minder for the next few years. Several big names have been mentioned but there are questions with each of them. Plan A for the Isles should be Ilya Sorokin.
New York Islanders Head of Hockey Operations Lou Lamoriello has yet to land that starting goalie for the Isles to build around. The options over the summer were limited.
The answer, however, is within the organization. The only question is how do the Isles get him out of Russia.
There have been big names bandied about regarding the Isles goalie search. Sergei Bobrovsky has been mentioned a lot, as the two-time Vezina winner becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. The other big name that has come up is the Devils Corey Schneider who could become available with the emergence of Keith Kinkaid.
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In the case of Bobrovsky, the Isles would have to give him a mega contract ( as well as possible trade for him) and that’s always a risky situation when a player just enters his thirties. In addition, while Bobrovsky has been all-world in the regular season, his post-season performances have been spotty at best.
Schneider turns 33 in the Spring and injuries have been affecting him the last couple of seasons (only played 40 games last season). If healthy he can be the answer for the Isles but injuries tend to increase when a player gets into his thirties, not decrease. Schneider is signed for three more years after this season with an annual cap hit of $6 million.
If the Devils decide to move Schneider they are going to need to get a premium price from their division rivals from Long Island.
While both Bobrovsky and Schnider are very tempting choices both have serious question marks.
The question isn’t is Ilya Sorokin ready to make the jump to the NHL but rather can the Islanders get him over to North America. Sorokin is signed through next season (2019-20) with the KHL team CSKA Moscow.
Sorokin’s numbers in the KHL are ridiculous. This season so far he has 1.57 goals against average along with a .920 save percentage. The previous two seasons his goals against fell between 1.59 – 1.61, while his save percentage was within .929 – .931.
The big question is can the Isles or Sorokin make an arrangement with his KHL team and buy out the last year of his deal?
Sorokin (turned 23 in August) should be plan A for the blue and orange and he should be given the keys to the Islanders net starting next season. Now Lou needs to find a way to make that a reality. It will not be easy but do not bet against Lamoriello when he sets his sights on something.
Sorokin is on record that he is excited about Lamoriello and the NHL. Now the Isles need to find a way to get him to Long Island.