Does Semyon Varlamov deserve the majority of starts right now for the NY Islanders?

Nov 30, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (40) looks
Nov 30, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (40) looks / James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Semyon Varlamov was outstanding for the NY Islanders between the pipes last night against the Carolina Hurricanes - and was essential to keeping them in the game, as there were opportunites to extend the league and put it out of reach.

Ilya Sorokin has been the bonafide number-one goalie for the Isles heading into this year, as he's coming off a runner-up for the Vezina Trophy season - expected to put up the same results this time around. It would be unfair to say Sorokin has been a disappointment, but his numbers haven't been up to his standards.

With 1b currently outplaying 1a - the question arises if Varlamov should be given the majority of the starts while on this hot streak.

Varly has been putting up numbers similar to those during the Islanders' back-to-back conference finals appearances, posting a 2.50 GAA and .926 SV%. According to Money Puck, Varly has .761 saves above expected per 60 minutes, seventh best in the NHL. His counterpart in Sorokin has just a 3.10 GAA and .913 Sv%, with a .190 saves above expected per 60.

While it's expected for Sorokin's numbers to be similar to those of Varlamov, both netminders have been facing an insane amount of rubber this season. Both are in the top 4 among all goaltenders in shots faced, as Sorokin has seen more than any other goaltender, facing 35.9 shots per game, and Varlamov fourth, taking on 34 per game.

The goaltenders are responsible for defending their goal, but neither have had much help from the defense in front of them. Injuries that have kept the Isles from playing their full complement of defensemen have played a significant part in the quality opportunities the Islanders have allowed this season.

There's no question that Sorokin is the goalie of the future, and this team will go as far as he allows them - but while Varlamov is playing at the level he is, the question will remain - who deserves more time in the crease?