License for Ilya: the islanders finally sign Sorokin


What year is it? You would be forgiven if you had to think about it. Time has been mixing, warping and crawling for so long that it can be difficult to remember when something happened or what day it is or how long an event took to happen.

Goalkeeper Ilya Sorokin was selected by the Islanders in the third round, 78th overall, in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Six years, 15 days, two Islanders general managers, dozens of wins and a multitude of awards all in his native Russia later, he finally signed his entry-level contract with the team.

The announcement came tonight from Sorokin’s new agent, Dan Milstein, who tweeted the phrase that Islanders fans have been eagerly awaiting. With a personalized hashtag and everything.

And, of course, there is Capfriendly with the money issues.

The delay in signing was the result of choices from both sides and CBA circles, including the NHL, which bizarrely altered a permanent rule to prevent free agents like Sorokin from playing in the season 1 tournament. ‘messed up after-season. Along the way, there have been rumors and hopes, false trade reports, a pandemic and tons of agita.

But all of that is now over. Really. I’m serious. I know I know. We have heard all kinds of things about this guy who comes and does not come for what seems eternal. This time it’s real. His signature is on the dotted line, and the man considered the best goalie goalie outside the NHL is ultimately, in fact, a New York Islander.

Awesome. That means he’s going to play right away, right? Well, therein lies the rub. According to new pandemic-mediated CBA that was ratified by the NHL and NHLPA over the weekend, free agents who sign late like Sorokin (and Kirill Kaprizov of Minnesota and Alexander Romanov of Montreal) are banned from playing in games during phases 3 and 4 of the NHL. Go back to the game plan. They can participate in the practice and, in fact, burn their entry-level contracts immediately in order to sign a second, larger contract in a fairly short time.

According to Arthur Staple’s article in The Athletic, Sorokin can indeed sign this other agreement now.

Sorokin is eligible to immediately sign a contract for 2020-2021 and beyond, although there was no indication on Monday that was ready to be announced shortly after Sorokin’s agent Dan Milstein tweeted. the news that his client had signed for 2019-2020. With the upcoming wage cap tightening for the Islanders and Sorokin unable to play an NHL game before next season, the next contract should not be a bank breaker, likely in the range of 2 to 2.5 million dollars per season over a two or three year period. two-year agreement. Sorokin can become an unrestricted free agent in 2023.

So, the Sorokin Islanders debut will most likely take place at the start of the next season, possibly as early as December. By then, he would not have played in a professional hockey game in 10 months. But he’ll have had plenty of time to work with goalkeeper coaches Mitch Korn and Piero Greco, meet his new teammates, find a place to live on Long Island, and taste the eternally unchanged inexpensive fatty cuisine of All American Burgers.

It also means that the Islanders’ goaltenders for their Panthers (and possibly beyond) streak will be Semyon Varlamov, a Sorokin buddy signed on a four-year contract last summer, and Thomas Greiss, who is expected to approach. the end of a surprisingly successful five-year run with the club.

Whenever he hits the ice in blue and orange, Sorokin will be one of the most anticipated newcomers in a while. During his time in the KHL, the 24-year-old (he turns 25 on August 24) has racked up a ridiculous number of wins, awards and distinctions, while keeping his percentage of saves at ridiculously high levels. In 2018-2019, he led CSKA to a Gagarin Cup championship, was named the playoff player par excellence and led all goaltenders in the regular season (11) and playoff (5) shutouts. In that stubby season, he was still on the KHL all-star team for the fifth time and had nine shutouts in the regular season. CSKA swept its first playoff series before the league closed due to COVID-19.

Outlook supervisor Scott Wheeler of The Athletic says Sorokin has a chance to be even better than his compatriots and KHL comrades import Ilya Samsonov, Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev.

He entered the second best professional league in the world at the age of 17 and has a .930 save percentage in 244 regular season games (!). It’s the equivalent of four seasons of 60 games as a practically unruffled goalkeeper. Meanwhile, he also recorded .940 save percentage in 69 playoff games. We are talking about a massive sample size.

Exciting! And he’s been waiting a long time to sign with the Islanders – yes, our Islanders. He will eventually have a chance to show what he can do in the NHL. We have waited so long, we will just have to continue. At least now we have the signature we needed.


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