Ilya Sorokin was the New York Islanders‘ most popular prospect for the past 4 years. With amazing numbers in the KHL (1.70 GAA in his KHL career), Sorokin looked ready to cross the pond. To be brutally honest, Sorokin’s start has been disappointing at best. Lackluster numbers and no wins through his first three games sent alarm bells to the fans. Analyzing his three NHL starts, there are clearly issues with his game, but they can be fixed by Mitch Korn.
The Issues Ilya Sorokin Has
Ilya Sorokin’s most alarming issue the Islanders have seen is his positioning. Hailing from the KHL, Sorokin is used to facing longer shots from the blue-line. Sorokin was able to also see the puck more as puck battling and screening isn’t as popular in the KHL. In the NHL, with a smaller, compact offensive zone, Sorokin is not used to the fast pace offence. Sorokin often has his glove too low, with amazing lower body control, with amazing highlights of him splitting his legs to make a save. His upper body control needs to be improved, with the NHL having a more elevated shot percentage, Sorokin needs to adapt to the NHL game.
KHL to NHL Adjusting For Sorokin
A regulation KHL arena’s offensive zone measures 100 feet wide and 72 feet long. An NHL arena’s offensive zone measures 85 feet and 75 feet long. These might not seem like massive ice changes, but to a goalie used to a specific sized offensive zone, this is massive. Sorokin is used to a wider, spaced out zone, playing over 244 games in the KHL. Mitch Korn will have to think about all the inputs in order to do what’s best for Sorokin.
Importantly, unlike his Russian rival Igor Shestyorkin, who came over from Russia in September, 2019, Sorokin was not granted the time in the AHL to develop his game. Playing in the AHL after coming over from Russia is almost like tradition, goalies like Andrei Vasilevskiy, Ilya Samsonov and Sorokin’s Islander teammate Semyon Varlamov played at least a season in the AHL in order to transition their game well to North American Ice.
Mitch Korn’s Magic
In conclusion, now that the AHL season underway, the New York Islanders should look into sending Sorokin down to the AHL. If the COVID-19 pandemic did not come into play, Sorokin would have started his career in Bridgeport. With the help of Mitch Korn and the goalie development team the Islanders have another project on their hands. Goalies like Pekka Rinne, Dominic Hasek, Braden Holtby and most recently Robin Lehner was taught by Mitch Korn. Ilya Sorokin, if taught right and developed properly, can still meet his high expectations.