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The Islanders Have To Trade Ilya Sorokin

Ilya Sorokin
The Islanders have to trade Ilya Sorokin. Trading Sorokin is the right thing to do and I’m not sure how it’s arguable. (James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders Have To Trade Ilya Sorokin

Lou Lamoirello was allowed to push his chips in the middle of the table this past year. Now it’s time for the New York Islanders to be honest with themselves. This window is totally closed and if there is any way the Islanders can get back to title contention, it starts by doing what some consider the unthinkable. The Islanders have to trade Ilya Sorokin or they will live to regret it.

Sorokin is arguably the best goalie in the entire league. I am not denying the talent part of this. The former third round pick in 2014 has posted SV%’s of .925 and .924 in back to back years. He’s as good as it gets right now. It’s also the exact reason why the Islanders should cash in on this asset now before it’s too late.

The Russian netminder has one year remaining on a contract that will pay him a $4 million AAV for the 2023-24 season. After that Sorokin will become an unrestricted free agent. It maybe would be a different story if the Islanders has restricted free agency rights.

The Islanders have two options this offseason.

  • Extend Sorokin to a contract that’s going to make him one of if not the highest paid goalie in the league.
  • Trade Sorokin

If the NHL has taught us anything, it’s that you should treat goalies the same way as relievers in baseball and running backs in the NFL. Stop paying them. Don’t pay them. It’s a mistake 95% of the time. With Sorokin heading into his age 28 season after being a total workhorse the last two years, it’s hard to imagine the back half of that deal pays off.

What’s the point in bringing Sorokin back? Losing him for nothing in the following offseason can’t be an option. The Isles are signed up for a core that includes Bo Horvat, Mat Barzal, and Anders Lee all for too much money. The blue line doesn’t have a PP specialist and Noah Dobson doesn’t appear to be a number one guy. You’re looking at another eight seed by bringing this thing back with little cap space to use in order to improve the team. Guys like Semyon Varlamov and Scott Mayfield need to be brought back.

This is a pivotal moment for the Islanders. The game is changing. Recognize it or suffer the consequences later. The Islanders will probably do the wrong thing and try to convince themselves this team is good enough to make another run when it’s not. Lou has the power and the owner believes everything he says so don’t expect any real changes. In terms of what the right thing to do is, it’s obviously trading Sorokin to live to fight for another day.

Buy low, sell high. Let’s see if the Islanders are smart enough to recognize Sorokin’s stock will never be higher. It’s time to move on and build for a better tomorrow.

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