Not to be outdone by fellow Islanders prospects Linus Soderstrom, who just won an SHL title, and Mathew Barzal, who’s getting set to play for a WHL championship, goalie Ilya Sorokin win join Team Russia at the IIHF World Championships this week.
At least during the preliminary rounds - if not the medal rounds - he’ll be going up against (possible, hopeful) Islanders teammates Brock Nelson and Anders Lee (Team USA), Calvin de Haan (Canada) and Thomas Greiss and Dennis Seidenberg (Team Germany). The 21-year-old was part of Russia’s bronze medal winning team at last year’s tournament.
Sorokin went 25-7-6 for CSKA Moscow in the KHL this season, with a .929 save percentage. In 2015-16, he was named the league’s best goaltender after going 17-7-4 with a .953 save percentage and leading his team to a loss in the Gagarin Cup finals.
At this year’s Worlds, which will take place at Cologne, Germany and Paris, Sorokin will probably be the back-up to Tampa Bay’s Andrey Vasilevskiy. But, hey, it’s a short tournament so you never know. One dude gets hot and maybe his team rides him on a long run. Others on the team include Artemi Panarin, Nikita Kucherov and Ivan Provorov. Not participating this year is usual Team Russia stalwart Nikolay Kulemin.
Preliminary round games start on Friday, in which Russia opens the tournament against Team Sweden. Jumping in with both feet, I guess.
Good luck, kid. And DON’T GET HURT.