Evaluating the Islanders September 1st signings one year later

Buffalo Sabres v New York Islanders
Buffalo Sabres v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Ilya Sorokin – 3 years, $4 million AAV

The $4M AAV for Sorokin after one NHL season was a tad higher than some expected but is looking cheap for the next two seasons after the 27-year-old Russian finished second in the NHL in SV% (0.925), fourth in GAA (2.40), and second in shutouts (7).

The Islanders as a team were better defensively in 2021, and that was reflected in his 13-6-3 record with a 2.17 GAA and .918 save percentage. After Semyon Varlamov faltered in the opening playoff round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, it was Sorokin in net for all four wins as the Islanders won the series in six games.

2021-22 Season: 26-18-8, 2.40 GAA, 0.925 SV%

Despite proving his big-game prowess, he was penciled in to remain the backup to Valarmov last season, albeit with an increased workload. That all changed when Varly missed training camp and the beginning of the year with an injury leading to Sorokin starting the first nine games of the season.

As Varlamov slowly returned to form, Sorokin dazzled in net, making highlight reel saves on a nightly basis for an Islanders team that was short healthy bodies and talent on the blue line last season. He finished sixth in the Vezina Trophy voting and is among the betting favorites to win the award this season.

Much has been made of the Varlamov being an expensive backup this season at $5M AAV, but the total $9M the Islanders are spending on goaltending could be lower than what they paying in a few years when Sorokin is due an extension.