Ilya Sorokin has traveled to the U.S. There is a social media picture of him on Long Island. Islanders coach Barry Trotz has spoken to the highly-touted and newly-signed goalie via Zoom.
Other than that, the Islanders are not sharing details of when, or if, Sorokin will join the team for practice as hoped, even though he is ineligible to play the rest of this season.
“I have not seen the whites of his eyes,” Trotz said after Thursday’s practice at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow. “But, as soon as I do, I’m pretty sure you’ll know.”
Trotz added he could not comment when asked directly whether Sorokin has skated on his own since arriving from Russia on Tuesday or was still in strict quarantine.
The Islanders signed Sorokin, who turns 25 on Aug. 3 and was selected in the third round in 2014, to a one-year, $925,000 entry-level deal for the remainder of 2019-20 on July 13. Under NHL-NHL Players’ Association-negotiated terms, unsigned draft picks will receive service time for the remainder of this season despite not playing. Sorokin simultaneously agreed to a one-year, $2 million extension for 2020-21.
Trotz said Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello has a plan for Sorokin to work with director of goaltending Mitch Korn and goalie coach Piero Greco. But that’s all he would say.
“I’m privy to it but I don’t care to share,” Trotz said. “If you know me and you know Lou, I’m pretty sure there will be a plan. We’re excited to get to that process. I’ve been on Zoom calls with Ilya. He is enthused that he’s coming over and he’s fully invested. Hopefully, he comes as advertised.
Sorokin excelled the past five seasons with CSKA Moscow in the KHL — being named playoff MVP in leading the team to its first Gagarin Cup in 2019 — and won an Olympic gold with the Russian squad at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
“Having had the experiences of deep playoff runs, from a standpoint of what he’s done in the playoffs and the regular season, he’s been around men,” Trotz said. “Goalies that come over a little bit older, they’ve seen more and they’ve got a confidence. I think he’s more than ready to experience the challenge of playing in the NHL and having success.”
The Islanders are hoping if Sorokin is able to accompany the team to Toronto — the team departs for its quarantined arena/hotel bubble on Sunday —he will only count against the 52-person maximum NHL teams can bring to their hub city and not the 31-player roster.
Notes & quotes: Andrew Ladd, limited to four games with the Islanders in 2019-20 as he spent the bulk of the season with the organization’s AHL affiliate in Bridgeport and 26 games last season as he suffered two knee injuries, had his first training camp chance to skate among the top 12 forwards. He was on Brock Nelson’s left wing with Josh Bailey…Tom Kuhnhackl was the only player who did not participate in Thursday’s practice.