The Rangers are reportedly close to signing Igor Shesterkin to a long-term deal. The 25-year-old is going to be getting likely between $5.75 million to $6 million a year from New York to be their long-term goalie according to Vince Z. Mercogliano. Naturally, Islanders fans hit the panic button seeing Ilya Sorokin’s buddy get a big-time lucrative deal but honestly, the situations aren’t close to similar.
Igor Shesterkin carried the load for the Rangers last season starting 31 of the team’s 56 games. In those games, he was 16-14-3 with a .916 save percentage and a 2.62 goals against average. Without question, he is going to be the starter for the Rangers for the foreseeable future and they decided (right or wrong) to pay him like that.
Ilya Sorokin, for at least this year and maybe the following year, won’t be the starter. He will be the 1B to Semyon Varlamov. Ilya started 21 games for the Islanders going 13-6-3 with a .918 save percentage and a 2.17 goals against average.
Yes, his numbers were better than Shesterkin’s last year and you might be able to make the case that Sorokin is the better of the two, I’m not here to tell you he is or isn’t better. Instead, it’s why he isn’t getting a long-term deal like his fellow countryman.
Since Varlamov is still on the roster, and going to be the starter, Sorokin isn’t going to get more than him and if it’s a short two-year bridge, then the likelihood would probably be in the $3 million AAV range.
Heck, here’s a good comp for you. Alex Nedelijovic who is 25, is coming off a .932 save percentage and 1.90 goals against average season in 23 starts with Carolina. He was moved to Detroit, who signed him for a two-year $3 million AAV contract. Is that not a better comp for what Sorokin is to the Isles?
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Don’t let the Shesterking deal, whatever that number turns out to be scare you. The Islanders don’t have to worry about giving Sorokin big bucks until Semyon Varlamov is off the roster and they’re ready to make Sorokin the full-time starter.