The Edmonton Oilers spent a number of picks on skilled players in this year’s entry draft, but Peter Chiarelli and the scouts still took time to select a defender whose bread and butter is a shutdown style. That defender is Dmitri Samorukov, who the club selected 84th overall in the annual selection process this year.
The Guelph Storm struggled mightily last season, and Samorukov was a victim of that during the first half of the season. Dmitri had a strong second half however, and many scouts and experts were bullish on him when the Oilers called his name in Chicago. His second half, to many, suggested that he was in fact a legit NHL prospect.
Samorukov is a big boy, 6’2” and 180 pounds, and fits the Chiarelli/McLellan template in many ways. He won’t pay immediate dividends for the club, in fact we may not see him for another five years, but Samorukov represents a strong bet for the club from arguably the world’s best junior league.
All that said, the Russian rearguard is a relative unknown to Oiler fans so it begs the question, just who is Dmitri Samorukov?
So…….Just Who Is Dmitri Samorukov?:
With good size, Samorukov is set up to track nicely as a defensive prospect for the organization. He’ll get two more seasons of OHL play and will get the chance to prove which player is the real Samorukov, first half guy or second half guy.
We are talking about a good skater who can rush the puck effectively, which is a key thing in today’s NHL. If a defender can’t move the puck, there isn’t much work for him in the game anymore. Being able to do that makes Samorukov an option moving forward.
Friend of the site Lowetide wrote up on Samorukov here after he was selected by the Oilers in the draft. The following is a scouting report of him from Brock Otten.
Brock Otten, OHL Prospects: “Up and down year for Samorukov. Started off the year very well, but really hit a wall through the middle of the season, up until the final couple of months. Then he finished the year exceptionally well, including a very strong performance for Russia at the U18’s. This is the type of inconsistency I was talking about in Adam Ruzicka’s write up. When he’s off, Samorukov looks lost on the ice. Turnovers a plenty and a lot of puck chasing defensively. A lot of that can be attributed to the team he played on this year in Guelph though, who struggled as a team with turnovers and consistency in effort. But when he was on, which was the vast majority of the second half, he looked like a legitimate NHL prospect. Samorukov is an excellent skater who showcases a great ability as a puck rusher. But he also has a big point shot, which he was able to really improve the accuracy of later in the year. Defensively, I really like his intensity. Sure, he runs around a little too much sometimes. And sure, his reads could use some work. But, he plays the game hard in his own end and really makes opposing forwards keep their heads up. There’s a lot of potential to develop into a quality two-way defender with Samorukov IMO, and as such I think he’s really worked himself back into the conversation as a 2nd round pick come June”
What Can We Expect:
I’ll be watching Samorukov closely at next month’s rookie tournament and hoping he has a strong weekend for the Oilers. I doubt he’ll get much of a look in training camp, and honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if he was sent back to Guelph immediately after the tournament or following the split-squad games with the Flames to open the preseason.
In 2017-18, consistency will be key for Samorukov. If he can put together a full season that resembles his second half of last year, then it will be an overwhelming success. I’ll be looking to see if he can establish that level of play over the course of a full season and if he can increase his offensive output. Last season, he registered 4-16-20.
I leave you with a look back on Samorukov’s 2016-17 season in Guelph.