Prospect Ramblings: Calder Finalists, Sorokin, Rathbone & More

Brayden Olafson

2020-07-17

 

Hey Folks! Only another two weeks until meaningful hockey is back on our screens. Keep calm and tune into some old fashioned ramblings right here on Dobber Prospects for your prospect fix as we await the return of NHL hockey!

 

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The New York Islanders have signed Russian goaltending prospect Ilya Sorokin to, for all intents and purposes, a two year contract. The 24-year-old was selected by the Islanders in the third round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and was only the eighth goaltender chosen in that year’s draft. Since being drafted, Sorokin has been a regular participant in international competition for Russia including the World Junior Championship and the World Championships. In addition, he has been a full-time tyrant in the CSKA Moscow crease since 2016.  

 

The unique contract means that Sorokin will be permitted to practice with the team for the remainder of this season, but will not be eligible to play in any NHL games until the beginning of the 2020-21 season. 

 

Although he’s not quite as tall, I liken the style of the 6-2 Sorokin to Dallas Stars netminder Ben Bishop. Sorokin plays from a low center of gravity that allows him to fully commit to shooters, while using his explosive mobility to cover defensive breakdowns. With such a strong defensive system under Barry Trotz, this strength may not be as highlighted, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less of an asset. On the other hand, one minor shortcoming in Sorokin’s play can be seen in his aptitude for elite rebound control. A strong defensive system should be able to minimize this, but it’s still something that he could improve on. 

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Yap2ajmqxQ]

 

Despite his strength, the way that he challenges shooters is relatively conservative compared to NHL goaltenders as a generality, so he relies heavily on acute positioning, and quick decisions. 

 

With Semyon Varlamov being the only other NHL-caliber goaltender under contract with for the 2020-21 season, Sorokin’s path from backup to 1b, to 1a should be much more similar to the Columbus Bluejackets goaltending transition than what is currently occuring accross the East River in Manhattan.  

 

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Throughout the 2019-20 season, I put an emphasis on following the Calder-eligible rookies in the NHL and updating a bi-weekly power rankings. 

 

This week the NHL announced the top-three finalists for the Calder Trophy, and the list, while two-thirds being a given, was identical to my top-three. 

 

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