Lou Lamoriello's five best moves in his 5 years as NY Islanders GM

2019 NHL Draft - Round 2-7
2019 NHL Draft - Round 2-7 / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Ilya Sorokin comes to North America

Lamoriello reeled in the White Whale.

Ilya Sorokin was a highly-touted CSKA Moscow goalie drafted by the Isles in the third round of the 2014 NHL Draft. When he extended his KHL contract in 2017 through 2020, it felt less likely that he would ever play professionally in North America - and if he did, it wouldn't be for the Islanders.

Ilya Sorokin
Dynamo Moscow v CSKA - Kontinental Hockey League / Anna Sergeeva/GettyImages

At 24 years old, he was considered one of the best goaltenders in the world that was not playing in the NHL. However, when Lamoriello took over the Islanders, the feeling was that the outlook of the franchise had been altered, and with a stable front office, a new arena being built, and playoff caliber team, they had become a more enticing option for Sorokin than previously.

In the middle of July 2020, Lamoriello announced that the team had signed Sorokin to an entry-level contract that would allow him to be around the team in the bubble as they started the 24-team expanded tournament. From there, he was signed to a 1-year, $2 million contract for the 2021 season. After a strong first NHL season which included four wins in a first round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Sorokin signed a three-year, $12 million extension in the off-season.

His game has continued to elevate, finishing sixth in the Vezina Trophy voting in 2021-22. The 27-year-old is amongst three finalists after this past season, where he appeared in 62 games, leading the Islanders to the playoffs and being named an All-Star for the first time.

Sorokin is set to become an Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA)after next season, which means Lamoriello will need to sign him for a third time to keep him on Long Island.