The Islanders and their fans had to wait a long time for Ilya Sorokin to arrive on Long Island but that finally happened this past summer when the Russian goaltender joined the Islanders in the bubble for the playoffs but wasn’t eligible to play. Sorokin, drafted in the 4th round back in 2014, is currently 6-2-1 in rookie NHL season and has won six straight games.
Former Islanders General Manager Garth Snow drafted Sorokin but was never able to get him to come over from the KHL. And now it appears as if another Russian player drafted by Snow is Long Island bound.
26-year-old forward Anatoly Golyshev, a fourth-round selection (95th overall) by the Islanders in 2016, terminated his contract with Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg of the KHL on Tuesday and reports indicate that Isles General Manager Lou Lamoriello either already has or will soon get Golyshev to put pen to paper on an NHL contract. The Islanders drafted Golyshev directly out of the KHL so they have retained his rights and now it appears as if he’s on his way to North America.
The 5-9 179-pound Golyshev is Avtomobolist’s all-time franchise leader with 109 goals and 220 points over eight seasons with the team. He’s a left-handed shot that was a member of Russia’s Silver Medal team at the 2015 World Junior Championships and was a KHL All-Star in 2016 and 2017.
If Golyshev becomes a key player for the Islanders, it would be another reason why Snow’s fingerprints are still all over the Islanders. If you sum up his run as Islanders General Manager from 2006 to 2018, his overall grade is not very good. In 12 seasons with Snow running the show, the Islanders made the playoffs just four times and recorded just one playoff series win.
But, despite the lack of team success, Snow did come up big with a number of draft picks including Josh Bailey (1st round-2008), Mathew Barzal (1st round-2015), Anthony Beauvillier (1st round-2015), Kieffer Bellows (1st round-2016), Casey Cizikas (4th round-2009), Anders Lee (6th round-2009), Matt Martin (5th round-2008), Scott Mayfield (2nd round-2011), Brock Nelson (1st round-2010), Adam Pelech (3rd round-2012), Ryan Pulock (1st round-2013), Sorokin, and now potentially Golyshev.
The Islanders are certainly looking for someone who can solidify a spot on the third-line playing with J.G. Pageau and Oliver Wahlstrom while also helping fill the offensive void left by the injury to Captain Anders Lee. Golyshev is not going to be an immediate contributor once he arrives because he’ll have to quarantine as per NHL COVID-19 protocols and the Islanders may want to get him some time playing for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League so that he can get acclimated to the North American game. It’s also possible that we don’t see him, either in Bridgeport or Long Island until next season, but his signing indicates two things.
With the Islanders enjoying some success, draft picks from overseas are eager to join the team.
And Garth Snow, despite his overall lack of success as a General Manager, did draft some pretty good players.