Oilers Notebook: Penguins sign former Oilers prospect Dmitri Samorukov; Warren Foegele elevated to top line

Aleena Aksenchuk
6 months ago
The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed former Edmonton Oilers prospect defenceman Dmitri Samorukov to a one-year deal worth $775,000.
The Penguins announced the signing of their newest member on Twitter on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old has spent the beginning of the 2023-24 campaign with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League, scoring one goal and five points. 
Initially the Edmonton Oilers’ 84th overall selection at the 2017 NHL draft, Samorukov spent the first five years of his career with the team but only made one appearance with the Oilers in 2021-2022 before being traded to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Klim Kostin.
Despite his excitement to be drafted and labeled as one of the best prospects for the Oilers organization, he split most of his time with the organization with their AHL affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors, and in the OHL with the Guelph Storm. In Bakersfield, the six-foot-three defenceman scored five goals and 30 points across 103 games, while with the Storm, he posted 25 goals and 99 points in his three seasons with the team from 2016 to 2019. 
It was a similar situation when he came to St. Louis last season. Samorukov joined the big leagues for two games last year but primarily played with the Springfield Thunderbirds, where he posted four goals and 28 points throughout 69 games, finishing with 28 penalty minutes.
Samorukov is a well-rounded defenceman who can be relied on for all situations and plays effectively. In an interview with Alessandro Seren Rosso of the Hockey Writers back in 2017, Samorukov emphasized his ability to play a physical game, which in his opinion, is one of his best attributes as a player.
“Yes, [the physical game] has always been my strong point,” Samorukov said.
“I always try to do what the coaches say, I am also trying to play more with the puck; when you grow up, you realize that sometimes you don’t need to play too physical, but more of a smart game to be helpful for your team. But of course, when there is a change to deliver a big hit, I’m not thinking twice about it.”
Although in January, St. Louis head coach Craig Berube described him as more of a stay-at-home defenceman who plays a simple game. 
Regardless, with the addition of the young blueliner, the Penguins receive another depth option after dealing with injuries to two defencemen over the past week of play. Chad Ruhwedel is currently listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Meanwhile, Pierre-Oliver Joseph is out indefinitely with a similar injury. 


Lineup blender

Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch has elevated Warren Foegele to the team’s top line.
During Wednesday’s morning skate ahead of a game with the Carolina Hurricanes, Foegele was skating alongside Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on the top line, marking his second time getting lifted up the lineup.
In subsequent lineup moves, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was moved off the top line to the second centering Evander Kane and Zach Hyman, while Mattias Janmark is set to return to the lineup. He was skating alongside Ryan McLeod and Derek Ryan on the third line, while Adam Erne, Sam Gagner, James Hamblin and Connor Brown rotated on the fourth line.
On the blueline, the Oilers mixed things up, too. Brett Kulak was elevated to the top pairing alongside Darnell Nurse, while Cody Ceci rotated on the third pairing alongside Phillip Broberg and Vincent Desharnais.

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