All eyes are on New York Islanders third-round pick from 2014 Ilya Sorokin. The Russian is the best goalie outside of the NHL, and he’s just getting better.
Unlike last season goaltending isn’t an issue for the New York Islanders. Thomas Greiss and Robin Lehner have both bounced back from disastrous seasons in 2017-18. Greiss’s GAA has diminished by -1.33 and his SV% has gone up by 0.033, while Lehner’s baseline stats have moved -0.34GAA and 0.07SV%.
Neither is a long-term option for the Islanders. Lehner only has a single year deal anyways and Greiss will be on his final year next season.
The Islanders, need to look towards the future in net. And that future continues to rest on the hope that Russian goalie Ilya Sorokin will come to the NHL. With a three-game shutout streak, there’s no doubt why that hope exists.
180 Minutes, 0 Goals
Through his last three games, Ilya Sorokin has three straight shutouts for CSKA Moscow. He faced 60 shots across all three games and stopped every single one of them. The streak has brought his GAA average to 1.29 and his SV% to 0.934 on the season.
Since his 1.06GAA and 0.953SV% from the 2015-16 KHL regular season, Sorokin has consistently hovered around the 0.930SV% mark.
The appeal to get him over here is clear. Sorokin is easily the best goaltender not currently playing in the NHL. Will he is another story altogether.
We all remember the rumor last summer where Sorokin seemingly didn’t want to play for a team lead by Garth Snow. But Snow isn’t here anymore (sort of). Lou Lamoriello is running the show now. And so far he’s turned things around pretty quickly.
He hired one of the better bench bosses in the league in Barry Trotz and he hired the best goaltending mind out there in Mitch Korn and more importantly, his team is winning. With a 10-7-2 record, this season the Isles are just outside of a playoff position.
That’s going to help change Sorokin’s mind vis-à-vis playing for the Islanders. Maybe it doesn’t outright convince him, but the conditions to get him over are clearly better than they’ve ever been.
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With the way Sorokin is playing the Islanders have to step up their efforts to bring the Russian to New York. Lou has his salary cap guru Steve Pellegrini on staff to try to figure out how to make the money work.