On a very busy day for the New York Islanders in which they also acquired NHL goalie Robin Lehner, they have reached agreement with Jakub Skarek on a three-year entry level contract (ELC), according to Brennan Klak of TSN 1260. The Islanders haven’t officially announced it, but several signings have been leaked before official announcements come out this past week, and an ELC for Skarek is not surprising. [Update: Here’s the official announcement.]
Skarek, a goaltender from the Czech Republic, was their third-round (72nd overall) pick in last month’s 2018 NHL Draft.
Described as a “classic butterfly goalie,” Skarek was seen by many as the top goalie in that draft. He’s been playing “against men” for Dukla Jihlava in the Czech Republic as a 17- and 18-year-old the last two seasons, and is slated to join Pelicans in Finland’s top league this coming season.
The fact he’s been doing well as a teenager against older competition at a difficult position is part of what holds promise. Though he’s had some rough moments in international tournaments, how he plays next season in Finland, a better league, will give us a better indication of his potential
Read more about him from a few goalie watchers in this draft profile last month.
After today’s news, the Islanders goalie depth chart shapes up like this: Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss in the NHL, Christopher Gibson and Linus Soderstrom (we expect) in the AHL, with Ilya Sorokin and Skarek and working in Europe. (Sorokin is arguably NHL ready, but is playing in the KHL and unlikely to come over until he’s old enough for just a one-year ELC.)