The signing of Semyon Varlamov can prove to be beneficial in many ways for the New York Islanders.
The New York Islanders inked Semyon Varlamov to a four year deal yesterday with an AAV of five million, reported by Arthur Staple of The Athletic. The move comes after the news of former Islander goalie, and fan favorite, Robin Lehner agreeing to a one year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Varlamov is coming off of a decent season with the Colorado Avalanche after going 20-19-9 with a SV% of .909 and a GAA of 2.87. Varlamov will now have the chance to elevate his game by working with goalie guru Mitch Korn.
Why Varlamov over Lehner?
For just about every Islander fan, hearing the news of Robin Lehner leaving Long Island to join another team was heartbreaking. He was beloved by the whole community and was a strong role model for everyone battling with mental illness.
While it was very tough to watch him leave, it was harder to hear that Lehner was offered a contract to stay with the Islanders that he turned down. We would have to assume it was declined in hopes that he would get a contract he thought was more fitting for the production he put on the ice this past season. While it is odd to see the Islanders go after a 31 year old goalie coming off an ok season rather than lock the 27 year old Vezina finalist to a long term deal, it looks as if they had no other choice after he declined their first offer.
I know I speak for every Islander fan when I say this, good luck in Chicago Robin. All of the Isles family is rooting for you.
Varlamov and Sorokin
The Islanders have a goalie by the name of Ilya Sorokin in their system, and here is a little secret, he’s very very good. The last three seasons in the KHL have been unbelievable for Sorokin. In the past three seasons, his GAA has been under 1.61 in each season. In fact, he was able to post a 1.16 GAA this past season with CSKA Moscow. Read those three numbers one more time and soak that in. The 23 year old kid is a bonafide stud and all the Islanders could ever hope for is for him to come over to the States after his final season in the KHL next year.
This is where we go back to the signing of Varlamov. Varlamov and Sorokin are noted to be very good friends, both being from Russia, and both having the same agent. This relationship is exactly what Sorokin might need to him make the transition from Russia to the States easier. For the Islanders, that is without a doubt what they hope it will do. Not only would Varlamov help Sorokin adjust to life in the States, he can also help his game on the ice. If he was to come over, he would hopefully become the franchise goalie that the New York Islanders have been waiting a long time for.
For the time being, Islanders fans will have to be patient with Sorokin and let him focus on his time in the KHL. While Isles fans are waiting, they’ll be rooting for Varlamov to have a bounce back season with Mitch Korn there to guide him.
Stats from www.eliteprospects.com and hockey-reference.com
Featured Image Photo Credit – Nikos Michals