NY Islanders: NHL.com Writers Debate Ilya Sorokin for Vezina Trophy

Seattle Kraken v New York Islanders
Seattle Kraken v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

We're just a few days away from learning the fate of NY Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin in his quest to take home the Vezina Trophy. Joined by Linus Ullmark and Connor Hellebuyck as finalists, Sorokin looks to become the first Islanders netminder to be named top goaltender since Billy Smith in 1982.

While there are debates to be made for each of the three to take home the prestigious award, Bill Price, Adam Kimelman, and Jon Lane of NHL.com did just that in a recent article.

Price puts up the strongest argument for Sorokin, mentioning how he was the team's best player all season and the biggest reason for the Isles' playoff push, ultimately capturing the East's first Wild Card position.

"Sorokin was 31-22-7 with a 2.34 GAA, .924 save percentage, and an NHL-best six shutouts in 62 games (60 starts)," said Price. "He was third in save percentage and sixth in GAA among goalies to play at least 20 games and tied for third in games played. And he had to work for those numbers, making at least 30 saves in 25 games, and he was 5-0-2 when making at least 40 saves in a game. When you consider the Islanders were 22nd in the NHL in averaging 2.95 goals per game, second lowest among the 16 teams to reach the postseason (Wild, 2.91 per game), it's clear Sorokin was relied upon heavily."

Not only was Sorokin the Islanders' best player all season, but during crunch time, he elevated his game to another level. Taking on an even greater workload in the season's final stretch, Sorokin didn't falter, remaining the same reliable force between the pipes he had been all season.

"The Islanders needed to win and that's just what they did with Sorokin in net," said Price. "Again, I understand this is an award to encompasses the whole season and Ullmark clearly has better numbers, but when it comes to crunch time, Sorokin was the best and that needs to count for something."

In just three seasons with the Islanders, Sorokin has proven to the Islanders' front office he is an elite netminder, and now the rest of the league has been put on notice. Regardless of where he finishes come June 26, it's evident Sorokin's name deserves to be mentioned with the league's best.