Ilya Sorokin is currently in his second season as a New York Islanders goaltender. He has split time with Semyon Varlamov, a veteran in his third year with the team. Early in the season, Sorokin stepped up big when Varlamov was injured. This allowed Sorokin to prove he could be a full-time starter.
Ilya Sorokin’s career got off to a rocky start as he made his NHL debut on January 16, 2021 after Semyon Varlamov got injured in warmups. He gave up five goals in a loss against the New York Rangers and it took a few weeks for him to transition from the KHL to the NHL. Towards the end of the season, he was fully settled in and came up huge in helping the Isles win games down the stretch.
The Islanders defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games in a 2021 first-round playoff series, backstopped by Ilya Sorokin. He made tons of great saves and if not for his effort, the Isles may not have come out of that series victorious. It was a monumental moment for Ilya as he was able to prove his worth. It was a sign of things to come for the Islanders goaltender of the future.
Semyon Varlamov came into the 2021-22 season injured, giving Sorokin the temporary starting job. Ilya held his own until Varlamov returned. In 21 appearances, Sorokin has a record of 9-7-5 with a .925 SV% and a 2.43 GAA.
His record may not look great, but Sorokin deserves a lot of credit for playing well despite having a heavy workload. Including the Islanders tricky COVID-19 situation. Ilya also has better statistics than Varlamov, who has posted a 2-5-1 record this season with a SV% of .910 and a GAA of 2.77.
The New York Islanders Need More Youth
Sorokin may be 26 years old, but that is still seven years younger than Varlamov, who is 33. You can see quicker movements in the crease from Ilya and sharper angles controlled. The Islanders have a better chance to win with him in the net. When the Islanders are peppered in the defensive zone, Sorokin can withstand multiple opportunities in a short time and can also make up for bad positioning quicker.
He is amazing when it comes to the butterfly and can position better than Varlamov on odd-man rushes. A lot of these skills are due to his small stature and youthfulness. We've seen younger players such as Noah Dobson, Oliver Wahlstrom, and Kieffer Bellows have success this year and Ilya Sorokin is no different.
Ilya Sorokin Has Proven Himself as the Islanders Full-Time Starter
Due to his terrific goaltending, Ilya has received more of the Isles starts since Varlamov returned. The Islanders have also been better as of late, earning more points since the start of December. Sorokin has played a large role in that recent success.
The New York Islanders are a better hockey team when Ilya Sorokin is in the net. He has begun to take the reins from Semyon Varlamov by starting the majority of Isles games. The Islanders starting goaltender of the future has taken the next step and is finally here in full form.