An independent blog on the New York Islanders, the NHL and AHL by a guy from New York.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

New York Islanders Off-Season: Aho Signs ELC & Sorokin Opens Door for Soderstrom

The New York Islanders probably had an idea they wanted defensemen, Sebastian Aho in their immediate plans. Just after being drafted by New York with the 139th pick in the 5th round, Arthur Staple mentioned, “Kautonen said 5th-round D Sebastian Aho, who is already 21 and just finished his fourth pro year in Sweden, could play in BPT next season.” Today, the Islanders validated that speculation and announced Aho has agreed to terms on a three-year, entry-level deal. It seemed to be next logical step after Aho terminated contract with Skellefteå AIK of the Swedish Hockey league.

Per release, “Aho, 21, posted career highs in goals (10), assists (20), points (30) and games played (50) with Skellefteå AIK of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) last season. He added two assists in seven playoff games, helping Skellefteå win SHL silver medal honors.” Former Isles prospect, Mark Katic had this to say about Aho after he was drafted, “(He) is a steal for @NYIslanders . He would make plays that would have me searching for the jumbrotron remote trying to rewind the live feed.”

Release, "Aho scored “60 points (15 goals, 45 assists) and a plus-8 rating in 152 career SHL games. He also played 49 career playoff games and helped Skellefteå win the SHL championship in 2013-14." Internationally, Aho has represented Sweden at the 2014 U18 (named a top 3 player) & 2015 U20 World Junior Championships. 

Aho should get his chance to impress in Bridgeport and try to play his way into a call up, or even more with a good showing in camp. You never know if trades happen or plans change for the Islanders heading into next season.


As rumored by @incarceratedbob on 7/1, Isles stud KHL, goaltending prospect, Ilya Sorokin is staying in Russia. At least for now. Its speculated that Sorokin, with 1 year remaining on his deal in the KHL, chose to sign on for a 2-year extension (was already signed for the 2017-18 ssn) in order to avoid an AHL stint while Thomas Greiss and Jaroslav Halak are under contract.

“Hockey club CSKA Moscow has reached an agreement to sign a new contract with the goalkeeper of the national team of Russia Iley Sorokinym. The term of the agreement is 3 years.

Over the past three seasons Ilia held for CSKA 100 matches, 65 of which army team won, achieving 93.6% indicators reflected throws, the safety coefficient and spending 1.47 19 games "zero".

The previous agreement with Sorokin in force until the end of season 2017/18.

The press service of CSKA PCC.”

In Goal magazine on Sorokin, “He plays an aggressive style, setting up well outside the crease – and utilizing a lot of backwards flow to make his lateral movements … In his rookie season, he had an astounding 10 shutouts in only 28 appearances – resulting in a .953 save percentage. He saw a bit more action this past season, and his numbers dipped to a .929 in 39 games.”

Sorokin plating for CSKA

The 21-year-old Russian is highly regarded as one of the best goaltending prospects outside of North America, but coming over to the NHL, the North American game does have a learning curve after coming from bigger ice for Russian and European goalies. Sorokin was in mini-camp last year and it doesn’t mean he is out of the team’s future plans. Contractually, I have no idea what options Sorokin might have written in, if he chooses to exercise that option to play for his NHL organization. The Islanders will still maintain Sorokin’s rights. He may just fade away like other "flaky" Russian prospects, or may just be bidding his time, wanting to start in the KHL for now.

Sorokin’s move also leaves the door wide open for Linus Soderstrom, another stud keeper prospect looking to get his shot. He has already expressed interest in fighting for an AHL or better roster spot when his obligations in Sweden are over. Soderstrom, who may have already been higher in the prospect ranking for Isles brass, has only one more year in Sweden, looked good in mini-camp for the Islanders and stood out with Eamon McAdam in goal during the Blue and White scrimmage.

Linus Soderstrom makes a stop in the 2017 Islanders Blue & White scrimmage

Isles Notes:

Per Arthur Staple, “Believe Calvin de Haan has filed for salary arbitration. Sides can continue talking contract of course.”

Nothing new on John Tavares extension at this time.

Per @NHLhistorygirl, “On this date in 1995, Mike Milbury was named the sixth head coach in #Isles history.”

NHL Notes:

Per Bob McKenzie, “$12.5M AAV for McDavid, eight year deal, per GM Peter Chiarelli.”

Per @Efawcett7, “Connor McDavid, now the highest paid player in the NHL at $12.5 mil per, would have the 76th highest salary in the NBA this upcoming season.”

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