Islanders Ilya Sorokin: How long do Isles keep his rights?

New York Islanders prospect Ilya Sorokin (Photo by Alexander NEMENOV / AFP) (Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images)
New York Islanders prospect Ilya Sorokin (Photo by Alexander NEMENOV / AFP) (Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images) /

The dream of getting New York Islanders prospect Ilya Sorokin isn’t over if he signs a one-year deal with CSKA Moscow.

On Thursday, CSKA Moscow was said to be in early talks with Ilya Sorokin on a one-year contract extension for the 2020-21 season. Something that has New York Islanders fans worried that the shot-stopper might never play for the Isles.

Drafted in the third round of the 2014 NHL draft, Sorokin has developed into the best goalie outside of the NHL. Getting him over would be a huge boost for the New York Islanders.

With the fourth-best record in the NHL over the last two years the Isles window is opening. A goalie like Sorokin, who’s averaged a 1.62 GAA over his KHL career and with 60 shutouts over 313 games, could open that window wider and keep it open longer.

How Long Exactly?

The Isles were hoping to get Sorokin to North America this year after his contract with CSKA Moscow expired on April 30th. But with the NHL holding a firm and arbitrary line that no contracts can be signed for the 2019-20 season, that plan has been put on hold.

Sorokin might have to sign his ELC contract for the 2020-21 season. A season that might not start until December 2020 at the earliest. And so that’s why CSKA is stepping in. The KHL season is likely to start in September, some three months before the NHL season starts in December.

And while that may be awful for the Islanders in the short term, it’s not like they then lose Sorokin forever.

I wrote on Thursday that the NHLPA will try to force the NHL to change its decision to not accept deals for 2019-20. I’m still hopeful that the Isles will be allowed to sign Sorokin for 2019-20. But I wasn’t sure for how long the Isles would keep Sorokin on the books.

I’ve seen some float July 30, 2023, as the date the Isles lose his rights and I’ve seen others say that they keep those rights ‘indefinitely’. So which one was it?

I was pretty sure that Sorokin fell under the Defected player clause in the NHL CBA (section 10.2 (b)). So to confirm I asked the people at CapFriendly for some help:

While this information doesn’t help the Islanders sign him right now, it at least clarifies the question of how long the Isles keep his NHL rights. Technically they keep his right indefinitely.

So while it will be awful if Sorokin signs a one year deal with CSKA because the NHL arbitrarily decided it wouldn’t allow teams to sign deals in 2019-20, the story of Ilya Sorokin to the Isles isn’t over either.