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New York Islanders

Sorokin Lone Islander Named Best At Position By NHL Network



New York Islanders, Ilya Sorokin

Leading up to the start of the season, NHL Network is conducting a nine-part series counting down the best players across the league. 

The first half of the series ranked the best players at each position. To no surprise,  Ilya Sorokin of the New York Islanders placed near the top of the list when it came time to rank the league’s goalies, placing third behind only Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers netminder Igor Shesterkin

In 2022-23, Sorokin led the Islanders to the playoffs, winning 31 games with a .924 save percentage and a 2.34 goals against average. 

In total, the network ranked 70 players: 20 centers, 20 wings, 20 defensemen and 10 goalies. However, Sorokin was the only member of the Islanders named. 

Of the NHL’s top centers, Connor McDavid led the pack, while the rest of the list featured the likes of Jack Hughes at No. 6, Sebastian Aho at No. 16 and Elias Lindholm at No. 2o. As for Brock Nelson, Bo Horvat or Mathew Barzal, they were nowhere to be found. 

Barzal, who could also be considered a wing player, didn’t make that list either. 

The same can be said for the backend, as no current member of the Islanders’s blueline was featured. However, former Islander Devon Toews was ranked the league’s 13th-best defenseman. 

The Lightning had the most players of any team named across the four lists, with six: Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman, Mikhail Sergachev and Vasilevskiy.

Several of the Islanders’s Metropolitan Division rivals had multiple players ranked as well. The Rangers and Penguins each had four, while the Devils had three.

Looking over the players listed, it appears that offensive production weighed heavily in determining who made the cut.

Most of the forwards scored at least 80 points last season, and the ones who didn’t likely would’ve had they not missed a significant amount of time due to injury. Even for the defensemen, almost all of them had a minimum of 50 points.

At the end of the day, these lists are subjective and don’t have any real bearing on the outcome of the season. Like the Islanders, other teams only had one player named, and a few didn’t have any at all.

However, there is one thing that can taken away from these lists.

The fact that Sorokin is the lone Islander listed confirms that he is by far their most important player entering this season. Without him, the Islanders have no chance of succeeding while facing teams with talent that they don’t possess themselves.