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Islanders: 3 Temporary Free Agent Goalie Options

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 04: Brian Elliott #37 of the Philadelphia Flyers looks on against the Washington Capitals during the second period at Capital One Arena on March 4, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 04: Brian Elliott #37 of the Philadelphia Flyers looks on against the Washington Capitals during the second period at Capital One Arena on March 4, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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With Ilya Sorokin coming over the New York Islanders might need a temporary backup if Sorokin starts out in the AHL.

The New York Islanders got some pretty big news this weekend when we found out that Ilya Sorokin will be making his way over from the KHL. Sorokin, who is 25-years-old, is expected to sign his ELC with the Islanders after April 30.

Igor Eronko, who broke the news, has compared Ilya Sorokin to his countryman, Igor Shesterkin. Shesterkin came over to the New York Rangers this past year and started out in the AHL playing 25 games, before playing in the NHL for 12.

While the assumption seems to be that Sorokin will come right into the NHL, that might be a touch premature based on what we’ve seen from Shesterkin and what we’ve seen from Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello when it comes to prospects.

With Thomas Greiss as a UFA, the Islanders will likely have to look for a new backup goalie. Greiss’ AAV on his last contract was $3.3 million so it’s assumed that he’ll get a raise. With the Islanders cap situation, there’s no way they’ll be able to afford him.

Here’s some potential options if the Isles need a goalie to hold down the fort for a couple of months while Sorokin gets some reps in the AHL:

Brian Elliott

We’re a long way removed from the .930 save percentage that we saw in 2015-2016. Elliott has spent the past three years in Philly where he went from the starter to a rotational backup. This year, he has a .899 save percentage and a 2.87 goals against average.

The save percentage isn’t pretty, but even if he can give you .910 it’ll be worth it as a cheap stop-gap. He’s making $2 million against the cap now, a one-year deal for $1 million ought to do the trick for the 35-year-old veteran.

Jimmy Howard

Yes, the .882 save percentage and 4.20 goals against average is vomit-inducing but the Detroit Red Wings are 17-49-5. That has to have something to do with the pitiful numbers no?

Howard is coming off a one-year $4 million deal. At 36-years-old a one-year deal with about half of that cost seems a little more appropriate.

Keith Kinkaid

Arguably my favorite option of the bunch is Keith Kinkaid. He signed a one-year $1.75 million deal with the Canadiens this past year but he only played in six games for Montreal before being sent down to the AHL.

An .875 save percentage will do that to you. In the A, he’s been better with a .900 save percentage and a 2.84 goals against average split between Laval and Charlotte. He’s the youngest at the bunch at 30 and the “upside” is likely a tad higher.

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With the Isles cap situation, it doesn’t make sense to retain Greiss or sign a guy who is going to be making $3 million AAV or more on the free agent market. This is a rent-a-goalie situation and you can probably get by with 10-15 starts from Keith Kinkaid in the first three months of the year before Sorokin comes up.

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