Ilya Sorokin has been highly touted as one of the Islanders’ goalies of the future, but the 23-year-old former third round pick in 2014 has yet to show any strong interest in playing on Long Island. He currently plays for CSKA Moscow, and will be playing there next year, with a contract running until 2020. While he attended Islanders prospect camp in 2016, coming off his KHL Goalie of the Year season, he probably doesn’t have a whole lot of interest in playing in the AHL for less money than he could get in Russia at the top level.
While some KHL contracts do have out clauses, Sorokin appears to be committed to playing with CSKA for the 2018-19 season, so the very earliest we’ll see him is 2019-2020. Last season, Sorokin posted a .931 save percentage in 37 games, with a 1.59 GAA, following the 2016-17 season where he had a .929 save percentage in 39 games, and his Goalie of the Year 2015-16 season where he had a .953 in 28 games.
KHL numbers are tricky though. For example, former Islanders prospect turned Edmonton Oiler Mikko Koskinen had a .937 save percentage in 2017-18 in 29 games, but his career NHL save percentage is a terrible .873. Sorokin seems to be highly regarded in Russia, earning a spot on the Russian Olympic team that won gold in Pyeongchang this past winter, but his performance was lackluster, losing the starter role to 35-year-old Vasili Koshechkin.
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It’ll be hard to tell what the team has in Sorokin until he makes a commitment to coming over to the NHL, but it’s likely he’ll get his NHL shot whether with the Islanders or with another team. There were rumors that Sorokin is waiting for Snow to leave the organization in order to come over, but we’ll see what the future holds for the Islanders and Ilya Sorokin.
Sorokin has the potential to be a number one goalie, and that alone is enough for him to be recognized as a top 5 prospect. With the drop in the ruble, I believe he will play in the NHL someday. The question that remains unanswered is whether or not that will be in an Islander jersey. Either way, he's a solid asset.
It's looking less likely that Sorokin ever comes over and while he's been good in the KHL, his numbers are down a bit over the past three seasons. He finished tied with Ryan Zapolski in save percentage and Zapolski was a guy who never cracked the AHL, much less the NHL. I'm starting to sour on him a bit.
He should be higher on talent alone - most likely he's the best, not worst, of the three ranked goalies - but I had to demerit him here simply because I doubt we'll ever see Sorokin in an Isles uniform, and if he never comes to the NHL, how can he be an NHL prospect? Should he appear Stateside I am prepared to revise my estimation well upward.
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