Remember when Ilya Sorokin was the "White Whale?" The goaltender that the NY Islanders drafted in the third round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, but he had roots in the KHL overseas and it felt like he'd never make his way across the pond? Right now, you're probably thinking "thank god that didn't happen!" And it's totally justified. Sorokin has easily become the best goaltender for the Islanders since he days of Billy Smith, and by the end of his career, we could be talking about the best Islanders goaltender of all time. Need the proof? Well, Sorokin has broken a couple of records just this week.
Sorokin reached his 100th NHL game on Tuesday in a 5-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sorkin made 20 saves on 21 shots and didn't have much of a workload thanks to a refreshed Islanders squad coming off their holiday break. Sorokin doesn't always have an easy night, however, and when the Islanders need him most, he's proven to show up time and time again.
Sorokin put himself in pretty good company in his 100th NHL game becoming the third-winningest goaltender in Islanders franchise history through 100 career games at 51. Only Jaroslav Halak and Roland Melanson (tied for first with 58 wins each) and Thomas Greiss and Glenn "Chico" Resch (tied for second with 53 wins each) have recorded more wins through 100 games with the Islanders.
It's an impressive stat, but it's not even the most impressive statistic he's recorded this week. In the last seven days, Sorokin hasn't recorded a shutout, but his shutout total through 100 career games is the second most all-time at 13 shutouts, according to Stathead. He's just one shutout short of first place, a record held by Roman Cechmanek.
That means a whopping 13% of Sorokin's starts have resulted in a shutout thus far in his young NHL career. To boot, since quality starts began to be measured in the 2008-09 season, Sorokin's 100th start was his 68th career quality start which surpasses NY Rangers goaltender, Igor Shesterkin in the category to claim first place.
In 26 starts this season, Sorkin is in a five-way tie for first place in the NHL with three shutouts. Despite the Islanders losing the game, Sorokin's 13th shutout came on Dec. 19th against the Colorado Avalanche in a 1-0 shootout loss. Sorokin made 44 saves against Mikko Rantanen, Cale Makar, and co.
Each year it seems like Sorokin just gets better and better and he's already come as more than what was advertised. In his rookie season he received Calder Trophy consideration, last season he was in the Vezina Trophy conversation, and he's right back in that mix this season. By the end of his career, it shouldn't surprise anyone if/when Sorokin solidifies himself as the best Islanders goaltender in franchise history.