The New York Islanders announced on Tuesday morning that they have signed star goaltending prospect Ilya Sorokin to a one-year contract extension, securing him with the club for the 2020-21 season.
According to TSN’s Elliotte Friedman, the extension is worth $2 million in total ($1 million salary, $1 million signing bonus).
It’s a team-friendly deal for the Islanders, who won’t have to commit considerable funds to their potential superstar netminder just yet. That’s quite a cap relief with GM Lou Lamoriello having to work out new deals for Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, and Devon Toews.
Sorokin will also be a restricted free agent following the 2020-21 season, meaning the Islanders have exclusive negotiating rights when the deal expires.
“He’s very excited and beyond happy to join the New York Islanders, a team with such huge history. Lou Lamoriello and I have kept very close contact and dialogue over the last 60 days,” Sorokin’s agent, Dan Milstein told amNewYork Metro. “He’s had numerous zoom calls with the coaching staff over the last month or so and he’s excited to join the team.”
Monday night saw the Islanders and the 24-year-old prospect agree to an entry-level contract for the remainder of the 2019-20 season, which will allow Sorokin to burn the initial deal to earn a larger contract quicker.
The pact, announced by Milstein, ended a six-year wait since the Islanders drafted Sorokin in the third round of the 2014 selection process.
Since then, he’s developed into one of the top goalies in the world for CSKA Moscow of the KHL in Russia.
In 2018-19, he won the KHL Gagarin Championship, going 16-4 in the playoffs while posting a 1.19 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage with five shutouts. He was also named the 2019 KHL Playoff MVP, going 28-6-4 during the regular season with a 1.16 GAA, and a .940 SV%, and 11 shutouts.
Per NHL rules this season, unsigned draft picks inked to deals during the pandemic are not eligible to play once hockey returns on Aug. 1. The Islanders had a 53-hour window to hammer out a deal with Sorokin beginning on Monday at noon ET.
The promising netminder will, however, join the team and work out with them during training camp — which also began Monday — and in Toronto.
Sorokin will be on the fast track to take over No. 1 goalie duties next season when he is eligible to play. The Islanders are expected to cut ties with Thomas Greiss while Semyon Varlamov will act as Sorokin’s backup and guide to life in the NHL and North America.