The New York Islanders have a starting goalie in Ilya Sorokin. Through the 2021-22 season Sorokin holds an 8-7-5 record with a 0.925SV% and a 2.46 GAA. His underlying numbers say he's 14th in the league for goals saved above average with a 5.1 goals-saved above expected.
That strong play has pushed Semyon Varlamov to the side a bit. The duo won't split the crease as they used to. Instead of a 1:1 split, it's going to be more of a 3:1 split in favor of Sorokin.
So should the Islanders explore a trade with the Edmonton Oilers who are in desperate need of capable goaltending?
New York Islanders and trading Varlamov to Edmonton: Not happening
That sounds like a good idea on paper, right? The Oilers need a good goalie and the Islanders have an extra one. Make it happen, right? Well not so fast. There are a few things to consider here both from a Varlamov perspective and from an Islanders one (and an Oilers one too).
From a Varlamov perspective, who says he wants to go to Edmonton? While Varlamov might have one more year (after this one) on his contract, that same contract also carries a 16-team no-trade list. Edmonton is probably on that 16-team no-trade list even before you consider the absolute tailspin they're currently in.
Over the last ten games, the Oilers have gone 2-6-2 and scored 2.4 goals per game. They've gone from the top of the Pacific Division to almost out of a playoff spot. They are currently a point clear of dropping out. So they could very well be out of the playoffs soon if this continues.
Which has led to speculation that coach Dave Tippett could be fired soon. So again, does Varlamov want to walk into that willingly? I doubt it.
Then you have to think about things from an Islanders perspective. Why would a team, built on solid defense and needing strong goaltending to win every night, trade a guy who should have been in the Vezina Trophy conversation last year?
Sure, Varlamov isn't doing as well as Sorokin is right now. His 2-5-1 record and 0.910SV% and accompanying 2.77GAA aren't great. But he should bounce back. We've seen Varlamov go through a tough stretch before and come out ahead before.
And let's be honest here, i's not like there's a better backup sitting there waiting to take Varlamov's spot. Jakub Skarek has done well lately at the AHL level but he's not anywhere near a level to push Varlamov down the depth chart. So why would the Islanders move him now?
They wouldn't. Unless they could get something they need. That's either an elite scoring winger or a top-four puck-moving defenseman (that last one is debatable with Dobson's play of late). Do Edmonton have one of those to give up for Varlamov?
According to The Athletic's Daniel Nugent-Bowman (subscription required), there isn't much the Oilers can move, of value, from the roster. And nothing the Islanders are specifically looking for. They've got picks and prospects they could deal. That's not what the Islanders are in the market for. At least not right now.
Lastly, who says Edmonton wants him or can even bring him on? At 33 (turning 34 in April), Varlamov isn't a young option. The Oilers are already old enough in the crease. And also likely want a longer-term option to put between the pipes for a few years rather than a stop-gap solution like Varly.
Varlamov also carries a $5 million cap hit this year and next and the Oilers have no cap space to speak of to accommodate that type of hit in either season.
There more you think about the less likely this trade happens. At least right now. Perhaps in the summer, the Islanders can find a new home for Varlamov maybe even in Edmonton (I doubt it). But as it stands now it isn't happening.