Dmitri Samorukov is a rare breed for the Edmonton Oilers. He’s a player drafted outside of the top two rounds that appears to be skyrocketing towards the National Hockey League.
The Oilers have had little success over the past decade finding these types of players. The only exception may end up being 2015 when they drafted Caleb Jones in the 4th round and Ethan Bear in the 5th.
Since 2009 the Oilers have drafted five players beyond the second round that have ended up playing more than 100 games in the NHL and only one of them appears to be in the future plans of the club.
Jujhar Khaira was an early third rounder in 2012 and should be around Edmonton for a few more seasons. The Oilers also drafted Erik Gustafsson in 2012 but opted not to sign him; he put up 60 points with the Hawks this season.
Brandon Davidson was a 6th rounder in 2010; Anton Slepyshev was a third rounder in 2013 and of course, Tobias Rieder was selected in the 4th round of the 2011 draft.
The Oilers called Samorukov’s name on the second day of the 2017 draft in Chicago. (Side Note: The Chicago draft is also the only one in the past ten years that I “slept in” and missed the first part of my morning show. What a city.)
TSN’s Bob McKenzie had Samorukov 76th in his final rankings for the ’17 draft so the Oilers certainly weren’t reaching when they picked him 84th.
Here is a good pre-draft quote from Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino.
“Great things were expected of Samorukov when he was picked second overall in the 2016 CHL Import Draft. Playing on a rebuilding Guelph team, Samorukov was thrown into the fire, competing nightly in the toughest division in all the CHL. He showed durability, missing just one regular season game, and that’s important to note as he brings a physical element. Not afraid to support the rush or shoot the puck, there is some offensive upside to his game. He’s much more fluid skating backward than forward, but that is a skill he will continue to develop. Having participated for Russia on several occasions, his best international performance was his latest one, winning bronze for Russia at the world U-18s.”
I think the first part of that quote is telling. Samorukov was a highly touted prospect as a 16-year old and from what I’ve been told probably would have been drafted higher in the NHL if he had been in a better situation in his draft year.
He finished with 4 goals and 20 points in 67 games as a rookie with the Guelph Storm.
This year Samorukov put together a 45 point regular season before going supernova in the Ontario Hockey League playoffs. The two-way blueliner finished with 28 points in 24 games in the post-season.
I exchanged texts messages with an Ontario based scout who said “he’s finally living up to the ceiling I thought he had in his pre-draft year at the u18’s in Grand Forks. Carrying the puck more, using his shot, and night and day defensively compared to his first year in Guelph.”
The scout also told me that Samorukov outperformed Bouchard in the playoffs and despite what the numbers say he was likely the better of the two in the regular season as well.
Oilers fans will get a chance to watch Samorukov at the Memorial Cup and if he plays the same way on that stage as he did in the OHL playoffs you can expect the hype train to be moving full steam ahead.
It is expected that Samorukov will begin next season in Bakersfield but it will be interesting to see how long he stays down there.
Samorukov’s Storm knocked off the Ottawa 67’s in the OHL Final and longtime voice of the 67’s AJ Jakubec tweeted this after the series.
I know the plan in Edmonton is to have young players percolate in Bakersfield. But the way Dmitri Samorukov controls a game, he’s close to NHL ready. He won’t be in the AHL for long.
— AJ Jakubec (@AJonSports) May 12, 2019
AJ has watched elite prospects come out of the OHL for more than a decade so I’m buying what he’s selling here.
I won’t be surprised is Samorukov impresses in training camp and fans are calling for him to make the team but due to numbers on the NHL club he begins the season in Bako, which is a good thing.
I won’t be surprised if by December or January he is on the third pair here in Edmonton. The good news is that a full year in the AHL has never hurt anyone so if he doesn’t arrive full-time until the fall of 2020 nobody should be concerned.
JUST FOR FUN
2020-21 Oilers Defense
Klefbom – D-man via trade
Nurse – Bouchard
Samorukov/Jones – Larsson
What Say You?