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New York Islanders Ilya Sorokin Contract Situation Refresher

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MAY 22: Ilya Sorokin #31 of Russia comes out to the ice prior the game against USA at Ice Palace on May 22, 2016 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Anna Sergeeva/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MAY 22: Ilya Sorokin #31 of Russia comes out to the ice prior the game against USA at Ice Palace on May 22, 2016 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Anna Sergeeva/Getty Images)
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With the play of Robin Lehner for the New York Islanders, it seems that they might just have an option between the pipes for the immediate future. But what about Isles goalie prospect Ilya Sorokin? What’s the deal with him again?

Drafted in the third round of the 2014 NHL Draft by the New York Islanders, Russian goalie Ilya Sorokin has put up video-game like numbers in the KHL. In 200 regular season games in the KHL since 2013-14, Sorokin has averaged 1.77GAA with a 0.928SV%. Its the type of numbers that Islanders fans have craved for decades.

The Islanders long-term future between the pipes should have been to have Sorokin there. That was until Robin Lehner became one of the best goalies in the NHL.

Since being acquired as a free agent on a single year deal Lehner has a 2.02GAA and 0.931SV%. Both lead the league for any goalie playing more than 15 games. Extending Lehner would be a good idea, but for how long?

If the plan is to eventually have Ilya Sorokin be the starter how long of a deal should the Islanders give to Lehner? What should we keep in mind regarding Sorokin’s contractual situation to make a decision?

KHL Contract

In 2017 Ilya Sorokin signed a contract extension with his KHL club CSKA Moscow, that would last until the end of the 2019-2020 season. So we know he’s still with the KHL under contract.

Perfect! Just buy it out and get on a plane! It’s not that simple. We’ve seen KHL players buy out their deals in the past. But when it comes to buyouts there’s a procedure. According to Igor Eronko, there’s a 15-month buyout process that players need to adhere to when it comes to a buyout.

That means at the earliest, Sorokin could be here for the 2020-21 NHL season. Assuming he still wants to come to the NHL that is.

If Sorokin were to come to the NHL he’d still be subject to entry-level contract rules. European players don’t have to sign ELCs wit the NHL once they turn 28 years old according to article 9.1 (c) of the NHL CBA.

At 23-years-old (turning 24 in August) it would be a long time before the Islanders were to see Sorokin. Assuming what’s preventing him from coming over is that max $925,000 ELC (without bonuses).

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A two year extension for Robin Lehner would cover next season and then the first year with Sorokin on the roster. From there GM Lou Lamoriello can decide what to do with Sorokin and Robin Lehner.

I’m perfectly fine giving Robin Lehner a two-year extension. But that’s assuming we know that Ilya Sorokin is coming to North America. Obviously, we don’t. It’s hard to predict what a highly paid player in the KHL like Ilya Sorokin will do. Sticking with what the Isle know in Lehner might be the best course and figure it out afterward if Sorokin makes the jump.

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