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New York Islanders Jakub Skarek Impresses in ECHL Debut

DALLAS, TX - JUNE 23: Jakub Skarek poses afgter being selected 72nd overall by the New York Islanders during the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 23, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JUNE 23: Jakub Skarek poses afgter being selected 72nd overall by the New York Islanders during the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 23, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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New York Islanders 2018 third-round pick Jakub Skarek made his North American debut on Saturday for the Worcester Railers and impressed in a 5-1 win.

We often talk about the New York Islanders defensive depth within the system. Noah Dobson has already made the jump to the NHL, but they still have Bode Wilde, Sebastian Aho, Samuel Bolduc, Mitchell Vande Sompel and others. But they’ve also got depth between the pipes.

The Islanders have 2014 third-round pick, Ilya Sorokin, still putting up video game numbers over in the KHL with a 0.941SV% and 1.41GAA. Linus Soderstrom – a fourth-round pick in 2014 – a goalie who broke Henrik Lundqvist‘s SHL single-season GAA record in 2016-17 with a 1.34GAA.

They also have 2018 third-round pick Jakub Skarek, who just made his North American debut for the New York Islanders ECHL affiliate, the Worcester Railers, on Saturday. And he was impressive.

Second Star

With 24 saves on 25 shots, Skarek back-stopped his team to a 5-1 win over the Adirondack Thunder in their season opener. That’s a 0.960SV% on the night. His performance earned him second-star honors on the night.

Railers head coach Jamie Russell had some positive words to say about his rookie goalie:

"Ryan Walker was the only Adirondack player to put the puck past Worcester goalie Jakub Skarek, who played a wonderful game in goal, especially after the Railers turned a little passive in the second period.“He played well,” Russell said of his goalie. “He made big saves, he controlled rebounds.”"

It’s one game, and there’s no need to be overly excited. But it’s good to see that Skarek is staring his North American career on the right foot with a solid win.

The move across the Atlantic isn’t an easy one. There’s are a number of adjustments that players need to make both on a professional and personal level.

The size of the rinks in most of Europe follow IIHF standards of 200×100 feet (NHL rinks are 200×85 feet). That’s a huge adjustment to make for any player. On a personal level, culture change and possible language barriers as a huge hurdle.

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Clearly, we’ve got to keep our eyes open on the Worcester Railers to watch how Jakub Skarek gets on this season and if he can move up the Islanders goaltending depth chart.

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