On Monday, the New York Rangers announced that they had signed RFA goalie Igor Shesterkin to a four-year contract. A contract that carries a $5.66 million cap hit. With the New York Islanders having their own Russian RFA goalie to sign, there’s an easy connection to make that what Shesterkin got could be what Sorokin is looking at.
And while that’s the easy connection to make it’s not the right one. There’s no reason to expect Ilya Sorokin to sign a similar contract.
New York Islanders won’t do what the New York Rangers did
The biggest tell should be experience level. Ilya Sorokin has 22 games of NHL experience. We still don’t truly know what he is at the NHL level yet. Sure, his numbers in those 22 games – 13-6-3 with a 2.17GAA and 0.918SV% – are great but he’s not yet held a starter role at the NHL level.
Paying Sorokin starter money would be irresponsible. And being irresponsible isn’t something that Lou Lamoriello does.
If we’ve learned anything from Lou Lamoriello and the way he approaches negotiations it’s that he’s not about to pay for potential. He’s not going to toss a stack of cash to a player because he thinks he can perform at a certain level.
The negotiations with Sorokin will likely end with a short-term deal with an AAV that sits around $2.5 to $3.5 million.
And at this point, you’ve probably done as I have and run the Hockey-Reference player compare tool and you’re likely seeing the same thing I am. It’s not like Shesterkin has that much more experience than his friend Sorokin. We’re talking about 25 additional games of experience.
And therein lies the risk in handing Shesterkin the type of contract the Rangers gave him. It’s a high-risk move to pay a goalie $5.66 million a year when he’s barely played a full NHL season. It’s possible that Shesterkin performs to his contract and that the Rangers get good value from it. I won’t say it’s a bad contract, but paying for potential could very well end poorly for the Rangers.
The New York Islanders won’t go down the same road with Sorokin.