This past season Islanders head coach, Barry Trotz, relied on netminders Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss to split time in net. When playoff hockey hit, Trotz decided to make Varlamov his starter throughout the playoffs. Varlamov was solid for the Islanders and was key in helping the Isles reach the Eastern Conference Finals. However, things will look different in net this upcoming season.
Thomas Greiss‘ time on the island has come to an end after five years. Greiss agreed to terms with the Detroit Red Wings on a two-year contract. The Islanders seemed unwilling to extend Greiss because Ilya Sorokin will be ready to play in the NHL this upcoming season and thus filled Greiss’ spot.
What to Expect from Sorokin?
Ilya Sorokin is a 25-year old rookie who looks ready to suit up in orange and blue once January hits. Sorokin was at practice with the Isles in the bubble throughout their playoff run. While he did not have any ice-time during their run, he was there and got to learn the Islanders’ style of hockey and made connections with his teammates. He will likely have a back-up goalie or fringe starter role in his first season with the Islanders.
Varlomav and Sorokin Relationship
Not only will Sorokin live the dream this year of playing in the NHL, but he will also be working alongside his idol. Sorokin made it known that his idol growing up was Varlamov. Varlamov and Sorokin already have a special relationship that will hopefully lead to an easy transition to North America for the Russian netminder: Iyla Sorokin. Varlamov will be called upon to start games this year more than last year since he will be working with a rookie. Can the aging netminder handle a bigger role? If not, can Sorokin step up? Many factors can help or hurt this due to which only time will tell.
Mitch Korn’s Impact
Mitch Korn is the Isles’ goalie coach. He has had a positive impact on notable Isles’ netminders including Robin Lehner, Thomas Greiss, Semyon Varlamov, and now Ilya Sorokin. Lehner successfully turned his career around under Korn and now has a long, lucrative contract with Vegas. Korn has done the unthinkable in turning Lehner’s career around, keeping Varlamov healthy, so can he make Sorokin a superstar?