The NY Islanders ended a six-game slide with a 2-0 shutout win over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night. While the team has won just three of their last 14 games, none of the team's struggles falls on goaltender Ilya Sorokin. The 27-year-old netminder is making his case to be considered for the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the NHL's best goaltender, despite a lack of wins because his overall body of work has been so good.
Last night, he added to that resume, registering his fourth shutout of the season and 14th of his career in just 109 starts. He has recorded a shutout in 12.8% of his starts, which is the best in NHL history (since 1943-44) among goalies with at least 100 starts.
Sorokin now owns the highest percentage of starts with a shutout since the 1943-44 season. In 112 of his starts in the NHL, he's registered a shutout 14 times. That means that in 12.8% of his starts, he's closed the door on his opponent without allowing a goal. Sorokin's 14 shutouts ties him for 4th in franchise history with Tommy Salo and Salo played in 187 games.
Sorokin has been as advertised and more ever since he's crossed the pond from Russia to North America. He made a career out of making highlight-reel saves and breaking records in the KHL and in the last three seasons, Sorokin has done the same in the NHL. He's already claimed an All-Star nomination and a Vezina Trophy doesn't seem far out of reach. There's an arguement to be made that he's the best goaltender in the NHL today.
The Islanders have one more game before the All-Star break. Head coach Lane Lambert didn't shut down the idea that he could start Sorokin against the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday in the back-to-back as his Friday night workload was a little light. Regardless, Sorokin (and Brock Nelson) will head to Sunrise, Florida as the representative for the Islanders next week and play among the NHL's best before getting back to work on February 6th against the Philadelphia Flyers.