Islanders Ilya Sorokin contract update: NHL and NHLPA make positive step

Ilya Sorokin #90 of the CSKA Moscow (Photo by Anna Sergeeva/ Getty Images)
Ilya Sorokin #90 of the CSKA Moscow (Photo by Anna Sergeeva/ Getty Images)

There has been a positive development on Ilya Sorokin signing with the New York Islanders this year.

The Ilya Sorokin saga keeps on keeping on. On Tuesday, we were told that the NHL did not want to step away from its arbitrary decision to prevent teams like the New York Islanders to sign players to deals for 2019-20. Like Ilya Sorokin.

For years teams have signed players on their reserve lists at the end of the season to effectively burn a year off their ELC. The Colorado Avalanche did it with Cale Makar last season as did the Columbus Blue Jackets with Vladislav Gavrikov.

Teams have until June 1 according to the CBA to sign unsigned draft choices. See the Critical Dates Calendar in the NHL CBA on page 344. Unsinged draft choices are defined in the CBA as players drafted by a team but haven’t been signed to an ELC yet. That applies to Ilya Sorokin.

This also applies to Kirill Kaprizov (Minnesota Wild), Alex Romanov (Montreal Canadiens), Scott Perunovich (St Louis Blues), Ian Mitchell (Chicago Blackhawks), and Grigori Denisenko (Florida Panthers).

The last four names have already been signed, but have open-ended start dates because of the NHL’s ridiculous decision. Something the NHL was not happy about.

Positive Step

Just a day later, it seems that the NHL and NHLPA have taken a step in a positive direction with respect to 2019-20 contracts.

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the NHL and NHLPA will push the June 1 deadline back one month to allow for further negotiations on this issue.

Teams want the normal rule to stand and so does the NHLPA. This is a bi-partisan issue. Both sides of the table want the same thing. This should be an easy decision to make for the NHL. Inexplicably they don’t see it that way.

I can’t imagine that this decision by the NHL will stand for much longer. It seems that their only issue with the rule comes down to fairness. Which is, at best, a flimsy argument to make.

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This doesn’t mean that Sorokin will be allowed to sign for this season. But it’s a step in the right direction. I expect that this will be sorted out soon. I’m cautiously optimistic that a favorable resolution comes out of this.