It's hard to imagine the New York Islanders going into 2022-23 without a goaltending tandem that doesn't feature Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov. Traditionally, Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello likes to build his teams from the net out meaning goalies are first priority, and for good reason. In the ever-evolving game of hockey, today's NHL calls for teams to carry two goaltenders in order to find success season long and in the playoffs.
A perfect example of this is the 2022 Western Conference Final that just concluded. Colorado Avalanche's starter, Darcey Kuemper, was injured in the second period of Game 1 against the Edmonton Oilers and Pavel Francouz played the remainder of the series. As for Edmonton, when Mike Smith looked awful, Mikko Koskinen was relied on for relief. That means four goaltenders were utilized at the most crucial moments of both Colorado's and Edmonton's seasons, so you could see why goaltending is so important and why it's hard to imagine both Sorokin and Varlamov not in the Islanders crease in 2022-23.
That being said, Varlamov has one year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $5 million. The Islanders have a laundry list of needs to fill this offseason and in order to fulfill them, they might have to shed his salary in order to properly retool this summer and return to the playoffs next spring. Varlamov drew interest at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline so if Lamoriello dangles his name out there this summer, there's bound to be interest and his phone will be buzzing. Let's take a look at some of the teams that could be interested in acquiring Varlamov this summer.