5. Future is Bright
As good as things are right now, things will are about to get better.
Ilya Sorokin, largely seen as the best goalie not currently playing in the NHL, will start his NHL career in 20-21. The Russian shot stopper was signed to a single year $2 million deal for 20-21 just before the start of the postseason.
The sense is that Sorokin can be a game changer for the Islanders franchise. With a 0.930SV% and 1.70 GAA in 244 KHL games, it’s easy to see why. With a strong defensive system in front of him, Sorokin’s adaptation to the NHL should go smoothly. Just look at where the Islanders got without someone of Sorokin’s talent. No picture how far they could go with him.
On that blueline, Noah Dobson should get the training wheels taken off in 2020-21.
This season the Islanders 12th overall pick at the 2018 draft only played 34 games. Most of that was out of necessity with Adam Pelech picking up a season ending injury in January.
In all fairness, Dobson had a few hiccups in his fist NHL season, namely that nutmeg by Kasperi Kapanen in January. But overall, the 20-year-old was an excellent defender for the Isles. As the season grew so did Dobson’s confidence and standing on the depth chart.
By the time the 19-20 season picked up again, Dobson was challenging some of the established veterans for ice time.
The Islanders blue line was already strong without Dobson on the ice. After a year of effectively holding the clip board and what will be three training camps under his belt before the start of the 20-21 season, Dobson will be ready for his full debut next year.
And I haven’t brought up the potential for Kieffer Bellows or Oliver Wahlstrom to make this team in 2020-21. With the stability this team already has combined with these promising players from the system ready to make the leap, things look good for the Islanders in 2020-21.