Lou Lamoriello confirmed this much about Ilya Sorokin, the Islanders’ highly anticipated goalie prospect: He is on Long Island and 100% healthy in quarantine after arriving from Russia on Tuesday, and he eventually will join the rest of the team in Toronto without impacting the team’s active roster, as he’s ineligible to play.
But the Islanders’ president and general manager, speaking after Training Camp 2.0 concluded on Saturday at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow, also made it clear that his mind is not on Sorokin.
“With Ilya, I don’t want it to be a distraction,” Lamoriello said. “I think we’ve answered enough questions on him as far as what will transpire. He’s not eligible. We’ll worry about him next year. As far as his development and his process, that will all take place. Right now, let’s just focus on this team getting prepared for the Stanley Cup playoffs.”
The Islanders will depart for their quarantined arena/hotel bubble in Toronto on Sunday, face the Rangers in an exhibition game on Wednesday and open their best-of-five qualifying series against the Panthers on Saturday.
On Sunday, the NHL expects to announce the rosters for each of the 24 teams reporting to Toronto or Edmonton as a hub city.
Lamoriello said the Islanders will carry 28 skaters and three goalies. They had 27 skaters and three goalies on the ice on Saturday.
NHL teams have a 52-person maximum for their traveling party, and Lamoriello insisted that Sorokin will not count against the 31-player roster.
“The Islanders’ roster is compliant regardless of interpretation,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in an email to Newsday. “They only have 31 players.”
So it seems clear — save for that one extra spot — which players are going. Goalie Jakub Skarek, defenseman Grant Hutton and forwards Kieffer Bellows and Oliver Wahlstrom did not practice Saturday, but the Islanders likely will take either Bellows or Wahlstrom.
“If you watched practice today, you could assume what the roster is,” Lamoriello said.
Semyon Varlamov, Thomas Greiss and Christopher Gibson were the goalies. Sebastian Aho, Johnny Boychuk, Noah Dobson, Andy Greene, Thomas Hickey, Nick Leddy, Scott Mayfield, Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock and Devon Toews were the defensemen. The forwards were Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier, Derick Brassard, Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck, Michael Dal Colle, Jordan Eberle, Ross Johnston, Otto Koivula, Leo Komarov, Tom Kuhnhackl, Andrew Ladd, Anders Lee, Matt Martin, Brock Nelson and Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
“Our focus is trying to get by the Florida Panthers and then, hopefully, have a really long run to win the Stanley Cup,” coach Barry Trotz said. “We put all the factors in — position, experience — and we felt this would be the strongest roster and give us all the flexibility.”
Sorokin, a 2014 third-round draft pick, signed a one-year, entry-level deal for $925,000 for the remainder of this season on July 13 as well as a one-year, $2 million extension for 2020-21.
The Islanders would have preferred to have Sorokin on the active roster, but as
part of the NHL-NHL Players’ Association return-to-play/collective bargaining agreement extension, unsigned draft picks such as Sorokin were ruled ineligible to play if signed for 2019-20 but could have this season count toward free agency. The second deal keeps him from being a restricted free agent this offseason.
“Ilya will join the team at some time next week,” Lamoriello said. “There’s no specifics of time at this point, but he will join the team to just go through the experience.”
Sorokin, who will turn 25 on Aug. 3, has spent the last five seasons with CSKA Moscow in the KHL and was named the playoff MVP in leading his team to the Gagarin Cup in 2019.
“He is on Long Island and has been and he’s serving the protocol for what the mandated protocol is as far as quarantine,” Lamoriello added. “He’s 100% healthy, 100% clear.”