The 5 biggest surprises in the first half of the NY Islanders season

Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Islanders
Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Ilya Sorokin has a GAA over 3.00

If there was one given heading into the season, it was Ilya Sorokin.

The Isles were going to be a team with limited offensive firepower and a less structured defense than in prior years, but they had a Vezina Trophy favorite, a franchise goaltender who is locked up for the next eight seasons, giving them a distinct advantage and making up for deficiencies elsewhere.

Ilya Sorokin
Washington Capitals v New York Islanders / Rich Graessle/GettyImages

It's been a tricky season to evaluate Sorokin. The Islanders are allowing the second-highest shot total per game in the league (35.2), and no goaltender has seen more rubber this season than Sorokin. Still, the eye test for those who watch each and every game tells you he hasn't been playing at the same level he did last season.

That doesn't mean he hasn't been very good. He's been the reason why they have been able to earn points many nights, but Sorokin is supposed to be better than very good. He's expected to be an elite goaltender, and despite the leaky defense in front of him, he hasn't been that this season yet.

Appearing in 29 games, Sorokin has a 3.19 GAA compared to his career mark of 2.49. His save percentage is .909 compared to .921 for his career as well. According to MoneyPuck, Sorokin's GAA above expected is 0.11, down from 0.65 last season. The fact that he isn't and likely won't be part of the Vezina Trophy conversation is one of the bigger surprises this season.