New York Islanders star goaltending prospect Ilya Sorokin is waiting for his immigration paperwork to be completed before making his way over to North America to join his NHL club, his agent, Daniel Milstein, told amNewYork Metro Thursday morning.
“Ilya will come as soon as he’s allowed,” Milstein said.
This comes after Islanders head coach Barry Trotz was unable to provide an update on the 24-year-old, saying: “I don’t have anything for you on that at all, but when we see the whites of his eyes, then we’ll welcome him with open arms.”
Monday saw the Islanders’ six-year wait end when they signed Sorokin to his entry-level contract less than eight hours after the NHL’s 53-hour window for teams to ink unsigned draft picks to deals opened. Due to NHL rules, he is not eligible to play at any point during the 2019-20 season — which resumes Aug. 1 — but can practice and workout with the team to acclimate to life in North America.
Sorokin was selected by the Islanders in the third round of the 2014 draft but spent the past six seasons in Russia’s top-flight league, the KHL, starring mostly for CSKA Moscow.
The following day, the Islanders announced that the two parties agreed to a one-year, $2 million contract extension that secured him for the 2020-21 season. It was an important deal for the franchise’s wallets as the upcoming offseason calls for new contracts for Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, and Devon Toews.
“He’s very excited and beyond happy to join the New York Islanders, a team with such huge history. [Islanders GM] Lou Lamoriello and I have kept very close contact and dialogue over the last 60 days,” Milstein told amNewYork Metro on Tuesday. “He’s had numerous zoom calls with the coaching staff over the last month or so and he’s excited to join the team.”
Given Sorokin’s standing as one of the elite goaltending prospects on the planet, he is on the fast track to being the team’s No. 1 goaltender next season. Veteran Semyon Varlamov — Sorokin’s fellow countryman and good friend — is slated to be his support system on Long Island.