Proprietary model puts a positive spin on Ilya Sorokin's season for the NY Islanders

Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders - Game Three
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders - Game Three / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Much like Game 3 versus the Carolina Hurricanes, this season didn't go as planned for New York Islanders franchise goaltender Ilya Sorokin. Whether it was the league figuring out how to best beat him with mid-range shots and screens or his body and glove position being off, it led to career-worst numbers following an All-Star campaign where he finished as Vezina runner-up. He finished the season with a 25-19-12 record, 3.01 GAA, and a .908 save percentage.

The advanced ones, like Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx), which set him apart from nearly all the competition last season, weren't much better. His ranking plummeted across all of the models that had him in the top handful of goaltenders in that category.

According to MoneyPuck. he finished 35th amongst goalies with at least 20 games played with just 1.4 goals saved above expected. Last year, that same model had him ranked third with 38.7. Via Evolvinghockey, his GSAx dropped from 51.36 to 8.45 year-over-year.

However, there was one model that takes into consideration factors that were prevalent throughout the season for Sorokin as the team struggled defensively under Lane Lambert for a majority of the season, leading to the 28-year-old facing the most shots in the league leading into the All-Star break.

SportLogiq, whose mode model is proprietary, had Sorokin second in the GSAx category, trailing only Vezina-favorite Connor Hellebuyck. We don't have the exact numbers and variances in the model compared to its peers, but online sleuths have advised that this model takes into account pre-shot movement and screens. For example, a one-timer coming on the power play from the left circle is weighted higher than a stationary, forced shot from the same location.

We all know about the team's troubles on the power play this season, and the amount of high-danger opportunities permitted from the slot are also propping up Sorokin's numbers in this model. Whether you want to view it as the outlier or an indication that it was the conditions he played under that led to his poor statistical season, the eye test shows a goaltender who has lacked confidence and has picked up some bad habits based on how he had to defend the goal throughout the season.

Goalies, like MLB closers, need to have short memories. Sorokin may not have another opportunity in the post-season to rectify what went wrong this year, but it's more likely than not that the Islanders trusted goaltending staff and words of wisdom from Patrick Roy will get him back on track as he starts the first year of his eight-year contract extension.