New York Islanders: Ilya Sorokin Likes Isles Current Team

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)

Fresh off winning the Gagarin Cup and the KHL playoff MVP title, New York Islanders draftee Ilya Sorokin had some positive words for the Islanders and his possible Isles future.

Just under a year ago we were hearing that former New York Islanders third-round pick Ilya Sorokin didn’t want to play for the Isles as long as former GM Garth Snow was at the helm of the team. But maybe with the appointment of Lou Lamoriello that might change.

After all, Lou did turn this franchise right around in very little time. In a single year, with unheralded acquisitions, Lou turned the Islanders from a team who missed the postseason by 17 points to one who is now in the second round.

After his CSKA Moscow side won the KHL’s Gagarin Cup and Sorokin was named the KHL’s playoff MVP on Friday, the Russian goalie was asked about his future with the NHL team that drafted him 78th overall in 2014. His tune towards the Isles has changed since last season.

Igor Eronko tweeted the following comments from Sorokin about the Islanders:

Faith Restored

Sorokin seems to like what he’s seeing from the New York Islanders and it’s impossible to argue as to why.

Just a quick reminder of the quality that Sorokin brings to the goaltender position. In the Gagarin Cup finals, Sorokin posted a 0.93GAA and a 0.964SV% along with two shutouts. Over seven seasons in the KHL with 204 regular season games, Sorokin has averaged a 1.96GAA and a 0.928SV%.

Say what you want about the KHL and the quality of the Russian league but those are some incredible numbers. Numbers that likely won’t translate 1:1 in the NHL, but Sorokin is clearly an incredibly talented goalie. One that any NHL team would love to have on their books.

And he’s liking what he’s seeing from the New York Islanders. With an almost identical blue line from last season, the Islanders went from worst to first in goals against in a single season. Something that hasn’t happened since the 1919 Ottawa Senators.

More importantly for Sorokin, both Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss were able to bounce back from terrible years in 2017-18.

*All stats from 2017-18 stats for goalies who played 20+ games and 30+ games for 2018-19 stats.

Lehner and Greiss went from the bottom of the standings for goalies to the top. In a single season. Sorokin has to look at those numbers and say: “Let me play for that team!”

This is a team that plays strong team defense, block shots, let the goalie see shots, and more importantly, they win.

While Sorokin didn’t exactly commit his future to the Islanders, he didn’t say that he’s committed it to CSKA Moscow either. And that’s a great development for the Islanders who are already strong between the sticks but could be even stronger in two years time when Sorokin can make the jump from Moscow to New York.

He won’t make the jump to the NHL next season, as Sorokin states through Igor Eronko, he still has a year on his CSKA Moscow contract. But once that deal is done he could make the jump to the NHL.

By then, Greiss will no longer be under contract, and the New York Islanders will conveniently find themselves with a hole in their goalie depth chart.

There’s still a lot that needs to happen before Ilya Sorokin puts on a New York Islanders jersey. But the Isles are at least a step closer than they were recently.