Future Watch Rookie of the Month – March 2021: Ilya Sorokin Hockey Cards, New York Islanders

Future Watch Rookie of the Month – March 2021: Ilya Sorokin Hockey Cards, New York Islanders – There are a lot of great rookies this season, making the Calder race fun. The New York Islanders have had a good month, and their current backup goaltender, Ilya Sorokin, is the biggest reason for that.

The Islanders were smart to let Sorokin travel with the team last year in the bubble. He got to practice on the smaller North American rinks where the angles are different, and starting goalie, Semyon Varlamov, was showing him the ropes.

Sorokin is now in the midst of his rookie season and has shown he’s more than ready for the NHL, owning more wins than Varlamov in March. Sometimes the role of the backup goalie is to give the starter the day off to keep from being overworked; but this is a 1 and 1A situation with the belief that Sorokin will someday be the starter.

The Islanders are 13-1-2 at home this season. In the friendly confines of Nassau Coliseum, Sorokin was a perfect 4-0 in  March. Before this month, the rookie backstop played in just six games, and during March, he played in eight games losing just once. On March 22nd, against the Philadelphia Flyers on the road, Sorokin stopped 36 shots en route to a 2-1 overtime win in his best performance of the month. You can check out the highlights from that game here:

A month ago, the Russian posted back-to-back shutouts, becoming just the second rookie to accomplish that in the history of the franchise, and the Islanders have had some good goaltending over the years.

Sorokin was the hot hand, and the Islanders rode it. With a big glove, he’s able to grab a lot when players try to go top shelf. His post-to-post speed is exceptional, and his ability to clear and pass the puck is top-notch. Sorokin will get aggressive and leave the crease to cut down the angle and that shows how much confidence he’s playing with.

Before that loss this month, Sorokin was 8-0-0. That’s the third-longest winning streak by an Islanders goalie. His save percentage was .922 during that stretch and he posted a 1.97 goals-against average. Sorokin is definitely in the Calder conversation but may fall short due to playing time.

It’s a long season. Sorokin could win the starting job before it ends. Coach Barry Trotz was smart to give him these games to see how he could perform under a compressed schedule in this unusual NHL season. Sorokin passed that test with flying colors.

As the Islanders head into April, they have one of the best goalie tandems in the game. Collectors should have been all-in on Sorokin from the start. In case you didn’t know how good he is and how good he can be in the future, this was your wake-up call. Pick up 2020-21 Upper Deck Series Two now and try to nab his Young Guns rookie card.

Future Watch Rookie of the Month – March 2021: Ilya Sorokin Hockey Cards, New York Islanders – Stats

NHL Standard career statistics
Goalie Stats Scoring
Season Age Tm Lg GP GS W L T/O GA SA SV SV% GAA SO MIN QS QS% RBS GA%- GSAA adjGAA GPS G A PTS PIM Awards
2020-21 25 NYI NHL 12 12 8 3 1 26 292 266 .911 2.24 2 695 8 .667 2 97 0.8 2.42 1.8 0 0 0 0
Career 1 yr NHL 12 12 8 3 1 26 292 266 .911 2.24 2 695 8 .667 2 97 0.8 2.42 1.8 0 0 0 0
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/2/2021.

Future Watch Rookie of the Month – March 2021: Ilya Sorokin Hockey Cards, New York Islanders – Other Resources

Future Watch Rookie of the Month Ilya Sorokin Hockey Cards, New York Islanders – Image Gallery

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Russ Cohen