Semyon Varlamov. The Islanders got a much-needed shutout victory in Washington on Thursday night, thanks to the goaltending heroics of Varlamov. Varly- whose four-year, $11M contract extension was widely criticized this offseason for being too long and too expensive- continues to show why having such a secure backup is so important in this league. In particular, the elite duo is the heartbeat of the Islanders, who have built themselves around their strong goaltending.
Ilya Sorokin has been off to a solid start this season, saving 2.7 goals above expected at even strength through seven games this season. However, Varlamov has stolen the show in his three starts, with 6.4 goals saved above expected, two shutouts in three starts, and a .972 (!!) save percentage. Having Sorokin and Varlamov is the key for the Isles as they continue to prove that they are the best goaltending duo in the NHL.
This upcoming week will see the Isles host the Minnesota Wild, followed by games against the unbelievably good Boston Bruins on the road and Washington Capitals at home before heading on a road trip to Edmonton, Vancouver, Seattle, and Calgary.