5 Islanders players who must bring their A-Game in February to stick around in the playoff hunt

The New York Islanders are more than good enough to contend for at least a wild card spot in 2024, but a few players must step up and bring their A-Game.

Jan 11, 2024; Elmont, New York, USA; New York Islanders center Bo Horvat (14) celebrates his power
Jan 11, 2024; Elmont, New York, USA; New York Islanders center Bo Horvat (14) celebrates his power / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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Let’s see Ilya Sorokin get back into the Vezina conversation

Just because a player makes this list, it does not mean they have underperformed even if Ilya Sorokin hasn’t enjoyed a fantastic season. So far, the Islanders No. 1 goaltender is a so-so 15-12-9, and despite posting a pair of shutouts and a healthy 0.910 save percentage, his 3.13 GAA is a glaring red flag.

Now, to be fair, Sorokin is also getting little help, having been forced to face 34.4 shots on goal per game, which reflects poorly on the Islanders ability to play sound defense. We further see this reflected in the team’s overall 168 goals allowed, which as of February 7th ranks 25th in the league. 

For second-tier goaltenders, you can make an excuse and say that unless the team plays better defensively, then the man guarding the net can only do so much. The problem here is that Sorokin has been a Vezina finalist, and he also received Second-Team All-Star Honors in the past, so a netminder like him is expected to step up and make more big saves. 

A throwback to his Vezina-contending days last season is what Sorokin must become once more for the next nine weeks when the Islanders call his number. And perhaps that will be a bigger help than anything else in taking this team back to the playoffs.