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Islanders Leave Door Open for Ilya Sorokin to Play in AHL

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Ilya Sorokin
Photo Credit: New York Islanders

Could Ilya Sorokin end up in AHL Bridgeport?

New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said those discussions haven’t happened, but that it’s “always a possibility.” In his first season in North America Sorokin has gotten three starts, but has not gotten his first win yet. In fairness, the Islanders in front of him have not always given him the best chance to win.

“It’s something that we’ve said hey let’s see where Bridgeport is, but we haven’t had a formal discussion,” Trotz said. “We think he’s going to be fine and we’ll see where he is.”

The Islanders bench boss added that there was a good chance that Sorokin could play one of the two upcoming back-to-back games that they have against the Buffalo Sabres next week. New York faces Buffalo on Monday and Tuesday at Key Bank Arena.

Ilya Sorokin’s last start came in Philadelphia on Jan. 31 when the Islanders fell in overtime 4-3 to the Flyers. Sorokin made 25 saves on 29 shots and gave the Islanders a good chance to win that night.

“I think he looked a little bit more comfortable,” Anders Lee said after the loss in Philly. “That’s going to take time with a little bit of that transition from league to league. Getting used to us playing in front of him. Obviously, we haven’t given him a lot of support goals-wise. I think tonight he made some huge key saves.”

Ilya Sorokin made a few highlight-reel saves in that game and, as our own Stefen Rosner noted, he looked a lot more comfortable as well in his Jan. 24 start against New Jersey. There was no question the rookie netminder struggled in his first NHL start when he had to take the place of Semyon Varlamov in the Islanders’ second game of the year against the New York Rangers.

Since Sorokin is waiver exempt, it does make sending the 25-year-old Russian netminder to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers a bit easier. And under normal circumstances, a rookie goaltender making the jump from the KHL to the NHL would get some time in the AHL before moving up to the NHL, especially considering the time it takes to adjust from the larger ice in Europe to the smaller ice in North America.

The Sound Tigers are in the middle of a 24 game AHL schedule this season due to COVID-19 with all of their games taking place at 1 p.m.

Trotz’s comments on Saturday don’t mean that Sorokin will ever see time in the AHL or that the possibility of sending him there is imminent. What it does show is that the organization isn’t afraid to place Sorokin there if they feel his development will benefit from the experience.

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[…] • As Semyon Varlamov continues to play strong, the AHL is becoming an option for Ilya Sorokin to get ice time. [NY Hockey Now] […]

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