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Islanders: 3 Destinations Varlamov Could Land if Traded

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Ilya Samsonov
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Wait, two possible reunions? Yes. The Washington Capitals have decisions to make this summer regarding their future. Are they still a team that can contend, or are they headed for a rebuild. If they decide the former, the Capitals need goaltending. Washington's tandem of Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek are both restricted free agents this summer and although the Capitals have full control over their future, they'll surely want to upgrade the position. Vanecek posted a 2.67 GAA and .908 SV% and Samsonov was worse with a 3.02 GAA and .896 SV%.

Washington GM Brian MacLellan and Lamoriello could help each other in this situation. The Capitals need stability in net, and the Islanders need cap relief and possibly a backup goaltender. One of the RFA's the Capitals currently own could come the other way and the Islanders can sign them up for a reasonable contract for at least the 2022-23 season. Samsonov and Vanecek's numbers didn't look great in 2021-22, but the Islanders also have Piero Greco. Greco has done wonders with goaltenders and improving their games, most notably Robin Lehner. Vanecek or Samsonov would serve as a fine backup to Sorokin if a deal could come to fruition.

There is the hurdle of an in-division trade here. Though not impossible, in-division trades are rare. However, on multiple occasions we've heard Lamoriello talk about "hockey trades," and this could be exactly that.

Honorable mentions go to the Seattle Kraken who just lost Chris Driedger long-term after he underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee, the Chicago Blackhawks who need to figure out their goaltending situation, and even the New Jersey Devils if Varlamov doesn't want to move far from Long Island and still have a chance to start.

The Islanders may or may not move Varlamov this summer but if they do, there will be suitors. Lamoriello will be aggressive in retooling his roster so Varlamov could end up as a casualty in the salary cap gymnastics he Lamoriello continues to work through. Sorokin is the starter now, so anything is possible.

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