Islanders: Why Ilya Sorokin can be a huge success in year one

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) /

Ilya Sorokin will make his debut for the New York Islanders in 20-21. With no previous NHL experience, how do we know he’s going to be great in year one?

Ilya Sorokin will make his long-awaited debut for the New York Islanders in 20-21. After drafting him in the third round of the 2014 NHL draft, Sorokin is finally here.

Just about everyone believes that Sorokin will be the real deal in nets for the Islanders. And it’s hard to argue against that logic. We’ve seen Sorokin’s videogame-like numbers in the KHL. Over eight years in Russia Sorokin averaged a 1.70GAA and 0.930SV% in 222 games.

His talent is off the charts. But he’s never played in the NHL. Can he be a success in year one? Absolutely. Like most aspects of sports, coaching is key.

Knowing What to Do

This week Florida Panthers Goalie Consultant Francois Allaire joined Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek on their 31 thoughts podcast. There the renowned goalie coach spoke about how he was able to churn out goalies quickly because of his experience and know-how:

"Allaire said: ” When I came with the Ducks I was pretty much solid with my coaching and I was really confident in my coaching and I can bring guys to the NHL in a hurry. Giguere got traded [t the Ducks] and half a season later he was number one for us. Martin Gerber came in the NHL from Switzerland and right away he was a good goalie in the NHL he was one of the best backups in the league. Why? Because we got shortcuts, we know how to get shortcuts in a hurry."

Guys like Allaire, who’ve been at the goalie coaching game for a long time, know how to get the best out of goalies and tap into their potential faster than most. Allaire has been a goalie coach at the NHL level from1985-86 when he was hired by the Montreal Canadiens until 2017 when he was a goalie coach for the Colorado Avalanche.

That’s 32 years of goalie coaching experience. Very few people have that type of experience. New York Islanders Director of Goaltending Mitch Korn is one of those few people with 30 years of experience as an NHL goalie coach. His first gig as an NHL goalie coach was in 1990 for the Buffalo Sabres.

If anyone else knows these “shortcuts” it’s undoubtedly Mitch Korn. We’ve seen what he (and Pierre Greco) have been able to do with the players they’ve had on the Island. Here’s what happened to the goalies Korn and Greco have been able to work with at the NHL level for the Islanders since they arrived:

*Greiss played two years under Korn so his pre-Korn numbers are from the two prior years.

And Ilya Sorokin is supposed to be a superior player to all three of these goalies.

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Combine Sorokin’s talent, Barry Trotz’s defensive system, the players who know how to play that defensive system, and then Mitch Korn’s unquestionable ability to get the best out of goalies, there’s no question that Sorokin is going to be great in year one for the Islanders.