Many fans believed goaltender Semyon Varlamov should have been traded at the 2022 trade deadline. Even more, believed he should've been traded during last off-season. Then others felt that even if the time wasn't right then, it was this past March when all signs pointed to Ilya Sorokin being a workhorse, and then some during the team's playoff push.
If you remain curious or even upset that GM Lou Lamoriello didn't move Varlamov for a draft pick when he only started two games after the deadline, it makes more sense once you realize that both the player and the GM want the relationship to continue beyond last season.
"I want to stay with the team," Varlamov said back on May 1st on breakup day. "Nothing has changed... I have a good feeling about this team and about the future. I want to be a part of it."
According to Pierre LeBrun in The Athletic, it wouldn't surprise him if a two-year contract extension was agreed to sometime this summer. With a new deal for Sorokin on the Isles radar, a deal carrying an AAV of $2-2.5M could be the sweet spot for both parties as the Islanders likely want to keep their combined cost for top-tier goaltending near the $9 it cost last season.
The 35-year-old Varlamov just finished a four-year, $20 million contract with the Islanders, with most viewing free agency as his last chance to start for an NHL team. However, Varlamov seems content with staying on Long Island and values his relationship with Sorokin at this point in their careers.
"(Sorokin) is my good friend," Varlamov explained on May 1st. "I've known him for a long time. We've had so much fun over the last couple of years playing together. It's always nice coming into the locker room and talk Russian, especially with him. We're on the same page with a lot of things like joking around or talking about the game. I had a lot of fun, especially playing with him."
In 23 games last season, Varlamov had an 11-9-2 record and a 2.70 GAA. Overall, he has played 135 games for the Isles, posting a 59-51-14 record with a 2.54 GAA and .917 SV%. In the playoffs, he has an 18-14 record with a 2.31 GAA and .922 SV% in 34 games.