The New York Islanders time in the playoff bubble has done a lot for the comradery of the team, but even more beneficial has been the time goaltending prospect Ilya Sorokin has gotten to acclimate to his new team.
Sorokin joined the Islanders in the playoff bubble just before the postseason had started and has been working with the Isles’ extra skaters. Having signed his entry-level contract and a one-year extension in July, Sorokin was ineligible to play in the postseason.
The time he’s gotten to spend with the Islanders, head coach Barry Trotz said, has been well worth it.
“Especially for a guy like Sorokin coming in he’s been diligent,” Trotz told reporters prior to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. “From an organizational standpoint, he’s working with our goaltending coaches on all the days. He’s taking English lessons daily with a tutor and learning that. And he’s getting English all day with our guys and hanging out. Getting the personalities and the organizational stuff.”
Since Ilya Sorokin cannot play there has been no pressure on him, which has allowed him to train in a more stress-free environment.
“There’s couldn’t be a better situation,” Trotz said. “There’s no pressure to play. We have two very popular goalies right now in (Semyon) Varlamov and (Thomas) Greiss. With Ilya’s background, that could create some tension. It has created zero tension and you find out what a terrific person he is. … He’s fit in seamlessly.”
Ilya Sorokin’s new teammates have also praised his effort in practice.
Michael Dal Colle has worked with Sorokin quite a bit in the bubble. The Islanders forward called Sorokin “awesome.”
“He’s a really hard-working guy,” Dal Colle said last week. “When he got here, obviously he didn’t really know anyone. He’s worked a lot off-ice, on his English. He’s adjusted really well and he works hard in practice.”