Just over nine months before making his NHL debut with the NY Islanders, Darren Dregger tweeted these famous words on a cold February day: "Sources say the Islanders have traded Ilya Sorokin's rights to Chicago."
Fast forward almost four years and Isles fans everywhere are relieved that just a few minutes later, Dregger updated his one million followers that this was in fact, not the case.
Now solidified as the Isles' number-one netminder, Sorokin has moved into sole possession of third place on the Islanders' all-time shutout list, passing Rick DiPietro after turning aside all 14 shots from the Arizona Coyotes in the Isles' 1-0 victory on Tuesday. The victory gave the Isles their first 2-0 start since 2014-15.
Since entering the league during the shortened 2020-21 season, Sorokin has led the NHL in shutouts, blanking his opponent 17 times in 135 starts. Second during this span is Jacob Markstrom of the Calgary Flames, with 13 in 167 starts. To put these numbers in a different perspective, Sorokin has shutout the opposition in 13% of his starts, compared to 7% by Markstrom.
Tuesday wasn't Sorokin's busiest day between the pipes, as the Isles stifled a young, quick Coyotes attack for most of the night, allowing just six shots on goal through the first two periods. Sorokin was on his toes more in the third stanza as the 'Yotes began to pepper the net.
"It always feels great," said Sorokin following the Islanders victory. "Win and make shutout...It's good feelings."
Sorokin, who now trails just Glenn 'Chico' Resch (25) and Billy Smith on the Islanders' all-time shutout list, didn't seem all too concerned with his accomplishment. "I don't think about this," Sorokin told WHRU Hofstra radio. "I don't care about this."
Sorokin may not care, but the Islanders faithful and front office sure do, as they know the eight-year, $8.5M AAV contract the Isles gave their star goaltender is money well spent. Aside from within the organization, Sorokin's best friend and perhaps his greatest rival on the ice (in the eyes of the fans) in NY Rangers netminder Igor Shesterkin has been a massive supporter and feels his pal should be recognized for his accomplishments.
"How he tracks the puck, how he moves, he has good feet - he does everything good," Shesterkin told Arthur Staple of The Athletic. "Last year, I think he deserve Vezina. Linus (Ullmark) have amazing season, but Boston also have an amazing season. Islanders, I think, don't make playoffs without Sorokin. But I don't get to pick."
Sorokin will likely see the starter's crease next on Friday or Saturday, as the Isles host the NJ Devils before traveling to Buffalo the following day.