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Is Ilya Sorokin the Real Deal?

April 23, 2019, 1:17 PM ET [392 Comments]
Ben Shelley
New York Islanders Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Even with outstanding seasons from both Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss, the name Ilya Sorokin constantly looms in the background for the Islanders. Sorokin, a third-round pick in 2014, has dominated the KHL in Russia, recently being awarded Playoff MVP.

Questions remain as to when we can expect to see Sorokin come to Long Island but there’s no denying Sorokin presents himself as a possible top-tier goalie when he does come to the NHL. But how good could he be?

Here are his stats, placed against comparable NHL goalie stats during their seasons in the KHL. The numbers are compared on an age basis, based on how old each goalie was during that specific season (age by Dec. 31 of the season).


17 years old- 2012-13: Ilya Sorokin (‘95): 5 GP, 1-1-0, 2.77 GAA, .919 SV%

18 years old
2013-14: Ilya Sorokin (‘95): 27 GP, 5-12-0, 2.90 GAA, .911 SV%
2012-13: Andrei Vasilevskiy (‘94): 8 GP, 4-1-0, 2.22 GAA, .924 SV%

19 years old
2014-15: Ilya Sorokin (‘95): 28 GP, 7-13-1, 2.83 GAA, .910 SV%
2013-14: Andrei Vasilevskiy (‘94): 28 GP, 14-8-5, 2.21 GAA, .923 SV%

Sorokin’s numbers hadn’t peaked in parts of his first three KHL seasons but at the same time it was impressive that he got into as many games as he did. His actual stats didn’t match those of now Vezina candidate Andrei Vasilevskiy but he had played in 54 career games by the end of his 19-year-old season, where Vasilevskiy had only played in 36 career games by the same time.

20 years old
2015-16: Ilya Sorokin (‘95): 28 GP, 17-7-4, 1.06 GAA, .953 SV%
2008-09: Sergei Bobrovsky (‘88): 32 GP, 7-20-2, 2.49 GAA, .927 SV%

21 years old
2016-17: Ilya Sorokin (‘95): 39 GP, 25-7-6, 1.61 GAA, .929 SV%
2009-10: Sergei Bobrovsky (‘88): 35 GP, 9-22-3, 2.72 GAA, .919 SV%

Here’s where we can start to tell just how dominate Sorokin could become. Comparing Sorokin and Bobrovsky’s 20 and 21-year-old seasons, Sorokin blows Bobrovsky out of the water, even though Bobrovsky’s stats are very good on their own. In the same amount of games across the two seasons (67 games), Sorokin had a better record at 42-14-10 compared to Bobrovsky’s 16-42-5, a better GAA at 1.38 compared to Bobrovsky’s 2.62 and a better save percentage at .939 compared to Bobrovsky’s .923.

It’s harder to find comparable stats for Sorokin’s past two seasons (maybe I just didn’t look hard enough) but you can compare them against stats from NHL goalies who played in the KHL at older ages. While Sorokin’s stats at 22 years old were excellent, his most recent season’s stats are unmatched by Varlamov, Nilsson, Bobrovsky or Koskinen in terms of wins and GAA, despite being younger while doing it.

22 years old- 2017-18: Ilya Sorokin (‘95): 37 GP, 25-8-4, 1.59 GAA, .934 SV%
23 years old- 2018-19: Ilya Sorokin (‘95): 40 GP, 28-6-4, 1.16 GAA, .940 SV%

24 years old- 2012-13: Semyon Varlamov (‘88): 16 GP, 8-4-3, 1.71 GAA, .946 SV%
24 years old- 2014-15: Anders Nilsson (‘90): 38 GP, 20-9-8, 1.71 GAA, .936 SV%
24 years old- 2012-13: Sergei Bobrovsky (‘88): 24 GP, 18-3-2, 1.94 GAA, .932 SV%
25 years old- 2013-14: Mikko Koskinen (‘88): 41 GP, 20-11-8, 1.70 GAA, .939 SV%
26 years old- 2014-15: Mikko Koskinen (‘88): 50 GP, 25-19-3, 2.07 GAA, .923 SV%
27 years old- 2015-16: Mikko Koskinen (‘88): 41 GP, 20-18-0, 2.42 GAA, .915 SV%
28 years old- 2016-17: Mikko Koskinen (‘88): 23 GP, 14-6-3, 2.08 GAA, .916 SV%
29 years old- 2017-18: Mikko Koskinen (‘88): 29 GP, 22-4-1, 1.57 GAA, .937 SV%

In the end, stats are stats. Mikko Koskinen and Anders Nilsson both put up excellent KHL numbers and so far haven’t amounted to more than an average NHL goalie. But seeing how dominant Sorokin has been in the KHL at such a young age, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to seem him take the NHL by storm once he does arrive.

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