A case has been made for Ilya Sorokin to get some serious Vezina consideration. At the time of writing the New York Islanders goalie is second in save percentage, fourth in goals-against average, second in shutouts, and 13th in goals saved above average according to MoneyPuck.
The case for Ilya Sorokin to get some consideration for the Vezina trophy is right there. He's easily one of the top goalies in the NHL. No question. But to me, it goes beyond that. Sorokin deserves some Hart consideration.
I'm not saying he should win it. And I'm fully well aware that players on non-playoff teams don't get Hart consideration, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't.
New York Islanders Ilya Sorokin deserves more than Vezina consideration
Just consider what the Hart is awarded for: "the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team". The Hart is supposed to go to the player who's had the largest positive impact on his team. And with all due respect to what Brock Nelson has done, no player has had a bigger positive impact on this team than Ilya Sorokin.
It's hard to compare players across positions, but I think The Athletic's Dom Luszczszyn's Game Score Value Added helps out. GSVA essentially amounts to the number of wins a player's game adds to his team. When looking at Sorokin's Athletic player cards his projected GSVA (GSVA over a full 82 games) amounts to 3.7. A full point above anyone else on the team.
Sorokin's play is worth a full win more than any of his other teammates. Clearly, he's the team's most valuable player.
Cool, but the Hart isn't an Islanders award it's a league-wide award so how does that 1.0 GSVA above the rest of his team stack up league-wide? Pretty good actually.
Looking at the Athletic's trophy watch (subscription required) the top 5 for the Hart are Matthew, Gaudreau, McDavid, Makar, and MacAvoy. All are obviously very deserving to be considered for the Hart, but what's the gulf in GSVA between them and the next best player on their team?
Matthews: +0.8 above Marner
Gaudreau: +1.5 above Lindholm
McDavid: +1.6 above Draisaitl
Makar: -0.2 behind Rantanen
MacAvoy: -0.7 behind Marchand
And that's not even considering Igor Shesterkin who's seriously underrated here. His 7.4 projected GSVA is a full four points above Mika Zibanejad's 3.4 GSVA. for the Rangers.
But the argument here isn't that Sorokin deserves some love when it comes to the Hart trophy. Sure the Islanders aren't in a playoff position, but imagine where they'd be if not for Ilya Sorokin?
So again, this isn't a case that he should win it. And I understand that he won't get votes because of where the Islanders are in the standings. But the point of this piece was to highlight just how good Sorokin's year has been.