Islanders: What To Expect From Ilya Sorokin In 2020-2021

In a Q&A with the fans, New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello said that he has every intention of bringing in Ilya Sorokin. Here’s what you can expect to happen.

Yesterday, New York Islanders General Manager, Lou Lamoriello took some questions from fans. We almost never hear Lou Lamoriello be that candid but during these desperate times, he was pretty outspoken for a change.

One of the topics covered in this question and answers was Ilya Sorokin, the 24-year-old Russian goalie from the 2014 Islanders draft class.

Question from Dennis Anninos: What is the status of Ilya Sorokin and are there discussions to bring him to Long Island?

Yes, we have every indication that he will be here for next season.

This was the Isles plan all along after signing Semyon Varlamov to a four-year deal this past offseason. Varly, who is also Russian, has the same agent as Sorokin and the two goalies are friendly with each other.

It’s pretty common knowledge that Ilya Sorokin is widely considered the best goalie not currently in the NHL. This year with CSKA, he has a .935 save percentage and a 1.50 goals against average.

To expect him to come over and start 50 games with vezina type numbers seems a little unrealistic. Instead, I think we will see close to a 50/50 split like we saw from Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss in 2018-2019.

Lehner had 43 starts under his belt vs Greiss’ 39, nearly identical, so I think we will see Varlamov have a bit more of the starts. Let’s figure 45-50 starts with Sorokin at 32-37 starts.

As far as save percentage and goals against goes, we can take a look at some recent KHL to NHL success stories.

NHL Stats In Year 1

Igor Shesterkin: 12 Games, .932 save percentage and 2.52 goals against average

Ilya Samsonov: 26 games, .913 save percentage and 2.55 goals against average

Sergei Bobrovsky: 54 games, .915 save percentage and 2.59 goals against average

Andrei Vasilevskiy: 16 games, .918 save percentage and 2.36 goals against average.

That’s four examples in recent history with moderate success right away. If Sorokin is playing in 32-37 starts I think it would be hard to expect him to produce a .932 save percentage like Shesterkin did.

Shesterkin did it in a lot less games so let’s agree on somewhere around a .918 save percentage. As far as goals against average goes, you’re probably looking somewhere in the high 2.4’s or low 4.5’s. For Sorokin, we’ll go 2.52 like Shesterkin.

So, in year one in the NHL for Sorokin I’ll predict 35 starts a .918 save percentage and a 2.52 goals against average. After next year, the Islanders will start to rely more on Sorokin and phase out Semyon Varlamov who will be getting up there in age by the start of 2021.

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Ideally, Sorokin is your goalie of the future. With everything he’s shown at the KHL level and the recent success of other Russian goalies coming from the KHL you should feel just fine with Sorokin in net for the Isles.