Islanders: Three players shortlisted for major awards in 2020-21
The New York Islanders trio of Mathew Barzal, Ilya Sorokin, and Semyon Varlamov are shortlisted for some major end of the year awards.
The 2020-21 season hasn’t started yet (nor is a start date even set) but it’s not too early for sportsbooks to set the market on major awards. And three New York Islanders players have been included in the shortlist for a few of those major awards.
follows the odds for a number of NHL awards. Awards including the Hart, Norris, Vezina, and Calder. Now, of course, a puck hasn’t been dropped on the season so who knows what actually happens, but
, Ilya Sorokin, and
are already getting some love from oddsmakers to win a big award in 2021.
Mathew Barzal (Hart)
For Barzal, he’s listed at +2500 for the Hart Trophy (same odds as Ovechkin) and just below players like Mitch Marner (+2200) and Sidney Crosby (+2200).
We know Mathew Barzal is a top-tier player in the NHL. We’ve seen him dominate the game for years now. On a more offensively minded team he’s probably scoring well over a point-per-game. But his 60 in 68 is still impressive in a defense-first squad like the Islanders.
Will he win it? He’s not a favorite for a reason, but if the Islanders can get him a bit more goal support (specifically on the power play) he could absolutely do it. Look, I’m not the only one to think so, a few months back Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele thought Barzal could lead the league in points. While leading the league in points doesn’t win the Hart Trophy it certainly goes a long way in doing so.
Ilya Sorokin (Calder)
The favorite for the rookie of the year award is New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin at +175. That’s a sensible favorite. Shesterkin was incredible in his short cameo with the Rangers this season posting a 10-2-0 record and average a 2.52GAA and 0.932SV%.
With the tenth best odds for the Calder is Ilya Sorokin at +2500. Those aren’t great odds of course, but here are some things to consider.
When the Islanders are at full-health on the back end they’re the best defensive team in the league, bar none. Look what it did for Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss in 2019. The pair won the Jennings Trophy and Lehner was a finalist for the Vezina.
Everything we’ve heard is that while Shesterkin is a great goalie, Sorokin is better.
Now, with that being said, who knows if Sorokin gets enough starts to even merit a nod. There’s also the fact that only three goalies have won the award since 2001 (Evgeni Nabokov, Andrew Raycroft, and Steve Mason).
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Semyon Varlamov (Vezina)
At +1800, Islanders Semyon Varlamov ranks 14th for the Vezina Trophy.
As I said with Sorokin, the Islanders system has a habit of getting the best out of goalies. From the start of the 2019-20 season till January 2, Semyon Varlamov held a 14-3-3 record and averaged a 2.43GAA and 0.920SV%. And we saw how dominant he could be as the Islanders marched towards the Stanley Cup.
Now, there’s a reason Varlamov isn’t a favorite. The back end of 2019-20 didn’t go very well for him posting a 5-11-3 record and averaging a 2.83GAA and 0.908SV%. And who knows if Varly will get enough starts in 20-21 with Sorokin on the team. The likely scenario is that the two battle it out like Lehner and Greiss in 18-19.
Now, Lehner still ended up getting a Vezina nod, but he played over half the season with 43 starts (46 total games played). If Sorokin gets more than 50% of the starts, I doubt Varlamov will get a not, Regardless of his stats.