The NHL was pretty clear, players who want to sign deals for 2019-20, like New York Islanders prospect Ilya Sorokin; it ain’t going to happen.
It’s been a slow news cycle on the NHL front for weeks now. More so on a team-by-team level. But for New York Islanders fans, we’re all constantly refreshing our social media accounts in the hopes of breaking news that Ilya Sorokin has signed his entry-level deal with the Islanders.
We know it’s going to happen. We just don’t know when it’s going to happen. Sorokin’s contract with CSKA Moscow ended on April 30th, meaning he’s been free to sign a deal since May 1; eleven days ago. But no deal has been worked out just yet.
It seems that Sorokin is waiting to see if he’ll be able to sign his one-year ELC for 2019-20 rather than 2020-21. The goal is to ‘burn’ that one-year ELC with the handful of games left in the season and get a big payday in 2020-21 rather than 2021-22.
But on Sunday, a report indicated that the NHL doesn’t want that to happen.
The Minnesota Wild have their own Ilya Sorokin-like situation going on. Their prized Russian prospect, Kirill Kaprizov, is also headed to North America after a few great years in Russia alongside Sorokin for CSKA Moscow.
Just like Sorokin, Kaprizov is hoping to sign his ELC this year rather than next year. According to The Athletic’s Michael Russo (subscription required), who covers the Minnesota Wild, the NHL does not want that to happen.
The NHL indicated that there’s no chance Kaprizov, and by extension Sorokin, would be allowed to sign a deal for 2019-20. All deals going forward will be for 2020-21.
Now, with that being said, this isn’t a 100 percent no. More of like a 99.9 percent no from the NHL. So don’t expect Sorokin to sign that deal immediately. Sorokin’s team, and the Isles, will wait until it’s 100 percent clear before they move from a 2019-20 ELC to a 2020-21 ELC.
I doubt the NHL flip-flops on this report and for some reason allows players to sign deals for 19-20 when (and if) the season returns. This all but guarantees that Sorokin will have to sign for 20-21. Eventually.
Sorokin’s signature isn’t imminent, but we’re closer to a signature than we were yesterday, so I guess that’s something.