It was bad. It was not what any New York Islanders fan wanted to see when they found out that Ilya Sorokin would be making his NHL debut on Saturday night. After years of seeing the third-round pick in 2014 put up eye-popping numbers in Russia, it was time for the much-hyped goalie to do the same in North America.
With a 5-0 loss and a 0.844SV%, it was- to put it lightly – not a great start to his Islanders career. Twice Sorokin was guilty of giving up a soft goal on fellow Russian Pavel Buchnevich. Again, it was a terrible performance, and he certainly knows it. But it’s absolutely ridiculous to give up on the prospect after a single performance.
Patience will be key. A single poor performance doesn’t doom him to a terrible career. Here are a few examples that prove that.
Examples for why Islanders Ilya Sorokin will be fine
I know you’ve heard of him. His first outing in the NHL was certainly one to forget. In 2016-17, Mathew Barzal made the Islanders straight out of camp. His first game came on October 15 against the Washington Capitals.
Three minutes into the game he took a slashing penalty. As that penalty expires the puck comes towards Barzal who’s just about to step out of the box. Instead of stepping out before playing the puck, he touches it while still standings in the box. You aren’t allowed to do that, that’s hockey 101.
As you know, Barzal bounced back since that performance. He won the Calder Trophy with an 85 point performance the next year and is now one of the top centers in the NHL.
Former Top NHL Goalies
Sorokin isn’t the first goalie to struggle in this career opener either. As my astute co-host, Matt O’Leary pointed out on Twitter the day after the Isles loss. Guys like Lundqvist, Miller, and Crawford had rough starts in their first NHL games.
All three bounced back to have great NHL careers.
Lundqvist finished his first season with a 0.922SV% and 2.24GAA earning him an All-Rookie nod, third in Vezina voting, and fourth in Calder voting. If he can’t return to the ice following heart surgery his career 0.918SV% and 2.43GAA cement him as one of the top goalies of his era.
Crawford never really got the credit he deserved for the job he did in Chicago. His numbers are eerily similar to Lundqvist’s but he gets a fraction of the credit. Crawford holds a 0.918SV% and 2.45GAA as well as two Jennings trophies and two Stanley Cups.
Miller was a dominant goalie in the league for years winning the Vezina trophy in 2009-10 with a 0.929SV% and 2.22GAA over 67 starts.
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Saturday was awful for Sorokin. He didn’t play well nor did the team in front of him. That will rectify itself. Not only will Sorokin adapt but the team won’t be so terrible either. Don’t overreact after a single performance.
A little patience will go a long way.