The New York Islanders currently have two starting goalies in Varlamov and Ilya Sorokin. Unless they get an offer they can’t refuse they need to keep it that way.
Why Varly Should Not Be Traded
First off having two starting goalies allows the Islanders to keep both Varly and Sorokin fresh. But not just in the regular season come playoff time when it all counts both guys will have a full tank of gas.
Having two starting goalies gives the Isles injury protection as well. If one guy goes down in either the regular season or the playoffs the Isles have a number one goalie to turn to. Remember Varlamov tweaked something the last game of the regular season and the Islanders did not panic for Game 1 versus Pittsburgh because they could turn to Sorokin.
Let’s keep in mind the Isles are in arguably the toughest division in the NHL. There are six teams in the Metro with playoff aspirations next season. In addition, the Eastern Conference is a beast overall.
The Islanders have a lot of work to do just to make the playoffs. They are not in the position of the Vegas Golden Knights where they have to screw up to miss the playoffs in the soft Pacific division.
But Big Cap Savings Trading Varly Right? Wrong
But many Islander fans would point to the Isles would save $5 million off the cap (Varlamov’s Cap Number) if they trade him right? Wrong
Yes, Varlamov’s cap number is $5 million but if he gets traded who is the number two goalie? The Islanders currently do not have anyone in their system ready to step in and be the backup to Sorokin. So the Isles would either have to go into the unrestricted free agent market or make a trade.
Landing a reliable second goalie is going to cost at least $2 million and maybe a bit more than that ($2.5 million perhaps). Even if the Isles can sign someone like Petr Mrazek on a short-term deal between $2 – $2.5 million, is it worth it?
Is it worth saving roughly $3 million in cap space and losing a super strength the team has in two number one goalies? No, it isn’t.
The caveat is Varly should not be traded unless Lou Lamoriello gets an offer he can’t refuse. If someone offers the Isles a proven goal scorer that fits Barry Trotz’s system then yes make the deal. If someone offers the Isles a boatload of futures then yes make the deal. The chances are either one of those things happening are very slim.
But a team like Edmonton offering their 2021 first-round pick (19th overall but 18th Pick Arizona Lost 1st Round Selection) should not be enough to move Varlamov. Remember the Islanders’ goal next year is to win the Cup.
Yes, the Isles need to free up cap space but moving Varlamov should be a last resort option.