After taking an errant shot to the throat during warmups just before game two f the 2021 regular season, New York Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov was forced off the ice. We found out he would be a healthy scratch for the game. Meaning that Ilya Sorokin will get his NHL debut.
After years of seeing him put up incredible numbers in the KHL since the Isles drafted him in the third round of the 2014 entry draft, we didn’t know if we’d ever see him skate in blue and orange. But after Varlamov had to leave the ice he’s going to get his start today.
Varlamov gets his first NHL start for New York Islanders
Before getting to Sorokin, hopefully, Varlamov will be ok and that this is just precautionary to make sure whatever pain he’s dealing goes away sooner and he can be back between the pipes ASAP. We’ve seen just how good the Isles can be when Varlamov is in the net.
For eight years at the KHL level, Sorokin averaged an impeccable 1.70GAA and 0.930SV% over 244 regular-season games. With numbers like those, it’s easy to see why Sorokin was widely regarded as the best goalie not currently playing in the NHL.
When he spoke to the media before the 2021 season started he indicated he was looking for a bigger challenge by playing in the NHL. Now he makes his long-anticipated NHL debut. Who knows how it goes.
Ideally, his debut goes well. He’ll have the Barry Trotz defensive system playing in front of him which should serve him well. Not to mention that he’s been training with Mitch Korn and Piero Greco since coming over in the playoff bubble in August of 2020. That’s a ton of time to work with one of the best minds in the goaltending game and to figure out how to fit in the system.