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Hart Attack: Why Ilya Sorokin Should Get Votes if Islanders Make Postseason



New York Islanders netminder Ilya Sorokin (Photo via New York Islanders Twitter)
New York Islanders netminder Ilya Sorokin (Photo via New York Islanders Twitter)

While Boston Bruins netminder Linus Ullmark is running away with the Vezina race, Ilya Sorokin has been outstanding and deserves Hart Trophy votes if the New York Islanders qualify for the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Hart Trophy is awarded to the player most valuable to his team. While there are a few reasons the Islanders are holding down the second wild-card spot with 14 games to go, Ilya Sorokin’s play is undoubtedly at the forefront.

The last goaltender to win the Hart (and the Vezina) was Montreal Canadiens netminder Carey Price following the 2014-15 campaign, after a ridiculous season with a 1.96 GAA and a .933 SV%.

The 27-year-old Ilya Sorokin currently sits fourth in the NHL with a 2.35 GAA and third with a .925 SV% in 49 games. He is also tied for the league in shutouts, with five.

Diving deeper, out of 24 goals to play 2,000 or more minutes this season, per, Sorokin ranks second with a 29.60 Goals Saved Above Average, second to Ullmark’s 31.89.

But like an infomercial, “But wait, there’s more!”

According to, Sorokin is second in the NHL with a 32.8 Goals Save Above Expected.

You can’t go one game without Sorokin making some jaw-dropping save to keep his team either in a game or keep the lead intact.

Unlike Ullmark, who plays behind the league’s strongest defensive team, the Islanders have been middle of the pack this season, and Sorokin has covered up mistakes more often than not.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid has 55 goals and 72 assists in just 67 games, already setting a career-high in goals with 15 games to play.

He’s going to win the Hart.

McDavid has won the Hart twice, and if you take him off the team, there’s no question that the Oilers are out of a playoff spot. However, they do have Leon Draisaitl, who currently has 42 goals and 56 assists in 65 games.

You take Sorokin off the island, and they could be the winners for Bedard, as he has made that much of a difference.

Another player, Buffalo Sabres star Tage Thompson, has potted 42 goals and 44 assists in 65 games. The Sabres are currently on the outside looking in, trailing the Islanders by five points with two games in hand, but if they find a way to sneak in, Thompson will get some second-place votes.

Now, Sorokin’s season hasn’t been perfect. The stats have not been pretty when he’s been off his game. Over a five-start span in December, Sorokin went win-less with an inflated stat line. But despite those struggles, he’s stayed at the top of the leaderboard.

Right now is crunch time for New York, a time when head coach Lane Lambert needs his top players to play to the best of their ability.

Over Sorokin’s last six starts, he’s gone 4-1-1, with a 1.82 GAA with a .935 SV%. Out of his four wins, he’s beaten two teams fighting for the wild-card spot in the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres, and another team in the Winnipeg Jets who hold down the second wild-card spot in the west.

He lost in a shootout to the Minnesota Wild and lost in regulation to the Los Angeles Kings, the team he and his Islanders teammates will face Tuesday night.

Since arriving on Long Island in 2018, Sorokin has never focused on personal accomplishments. When he found out he was headed to the 2023 All-Star festivities, he focused on the game the Islanders had lost in overtime to the Sabres.

Following Thursday’s overtime win against the Penguins, an overtime goal by Brock Nelson in which Sorokin notched the primary assist, he deiced to talk about his teammates instead.

That’s just the kind of player Ilya Sorokin is at the NHL level, but it comes a time when the accolades find you, and even if Sorokin doesn’t win the Hart this year, he’s more than deserving. Just someone named McDavid will likely spoil his plans.


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