Ahead of tonight’s game against the Washington Capitals, it appears that the New York Islanders will start Seymon Varlamov over Ilya Sorokin. The veteran shot-stopper was the first goalie off the ice during the Isles pre-game skate in Washington.
With a crucial game against the very organization holding the last playoff spot, one would think your best players would be in the lineup. Sorokin has proven to be the better goalkeeper this season.
Varlamov has played strong of late, but so has Sorokin. The move is a surprise by Barry Trotz.
With the trade deadline quickly approaching, the Islanders may not have many more opportunities to show off some trade assets. Is this a chance to show off an asset to a potential buyer across the ice?
Varlamov began his career in Washington and would most likely welcome a return to chase a Stanley Cup with old friend, Alex Ovechkin.
Other teams in need of goaltending may not be ideal for Varlamov, who has a no-trade clause and one year remaining on his contract.
Having been a staple for the Islanders the last two playoff runs, Varlamov has improved his stock over the years.
After recovering from an injury to start the season, Varlamov had a slow start to the season. This coincided with Sorokin’s rise as a number one goalie.
Varlamov is 6-10-2 in his career against the team that drafted him in the first round. He has a 2.57 goals-against average with a save percentage of .922.
Islanders Admitting Defeat?
With arguably the biggest game of the season, the Islanders are choosing to start the back-up goalie.
Is this a signal from management?
The playoffs are a pipe dream, but the games in hand give some hope. The team is playing its best hockey all season and has a chance to gain ground tonight.
Even with a victory, the Islanders would need to stay red-hot and hope the Capitals cool off.
The trade deadline is less than a week away and we may have our answer on what direction Lou Lamoriello is considering.