Better luck next year: The New York Islanders have a great goalie, but that is not enough
Ilya Sorokin is one of the biggest game-changers in the NHL, but he needs some help.
Welcome to Better Luck Next Season. As each NHL team gets eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention, and then the Stanley Cup Playoffs, we will take a look at what went wrong, what went right, and what sits ahead for them. Today we look at the New York Islanders, whoo have one of the league’s best goalies but not much else to help him out.
I will say this for the New York Islanders. They did a lot more than I thought they would this season.
The fact they even qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a pretty mediocre roster, while also being without their best player in Mathew Barzal for a significant portion of the stretch run of the regular season, was a solid accomplishment. I figured the only way this team even had a chance of competing for a playoff spot would be if starting goalie Ilya Sorokin put the team on his back and dragged there all on his own.
Honestly, that is kind of what he did.
Sorokin was sensational from start to finish and one of the most impactful players in the entire NHL, regardless of position.
He is the single biggest reason they made the playoffs, and the single biggest reason they won even two games against the Carolina Hurricanes in their first-round matchup.
Boston’s Linus Ullmark is going to get most of the Vezina Trophy attention from the league’s general managers because he won a ton of games and had a great goals against average. While his season was great, he also played behind one of the league’s best defensive teams. He was insulated all year from facing a ton of scoring chances and also had a great backup in Jeremy Swayman that he could split time with.
Would the Bruins have won 65 games with Swayman as their main goalie or somebody else in Ullmark’s spot? Maybe not. Probably not. But they would have still be great. An easy, no doubt playoff team.
He had a great year, but he is a lazy Vezina pick.
The best goalie in the league was Sorokin, and it should not only get him the Vezina Trophy, it should put him in the running for the MVP award. I am not saying I would vote for him over Connor McDavid, but he should certainly be in the top-three at the very least.
Just consider some numbers on his performance.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Adam's Sports Stuff to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.