In what is a provably unusual move, the Edmonton Oilers signed third-round selection Dmitru Samorukov today, miles and miles sooner than most players taken in that part of the draft. A quick look through the history books tells us just how unusual this move today ranks historically.
OILERS SIGNING THIRD-ROUND PICKS
- 2017: Dmitri Samorukov (September 7), Stuart Skinner (unsigned)
- 2016: Markus Niemelainen, Filip Berglund, Matt Cairns (unsigned)
- 2015: None
- 2014: None
- 2013: Bogdan Yakimov (May 2014), Anton Slepyshev (May 2015)
- 2012: Jujhar Khaira (August 2013), Daniil Zharkov (unsigned)
- 2011: Samu Perhonen (unsigned), Travis Ewanyk (March 2013)
Today’s signing stands in contrast with the recent past. None of the names listed here were signed in the same calendar year as the draft in which they were chosen. Bogdan Yakimov, about 11 months after he was drafted, represents the high bar. Samorukov? He was signed less than three months later. Jason Gregor mentioned on TSN1260 this afternoon he felt the reasoning was keeping the player in North America and away from the KHL. Seems a reasonable point of view.
SAMORUKOV’S DRAFT RANKINGS
- Bob McKenzie: No. 76
- Craig Button: No. 53
- Corey Pronman: No. 76
- Hockey Prospect: No. 65
- The Draft Analyst: No. 65
Edmonton got him No. 84 overall, a bargain based on most lists I follow. Craig Button, who is a truly unique draft voice, had him No. 53 overall (second round).
Oilers take another favourite of mine in Dmitri Samorukov. A massive enigma, but he's got fantastic potential. Very high upside.
— OHL Prospects (@BrockOtten) June 24, 2017
- Brock Otten: Samorukov has one of the highest ceilings of any defender taken from the OHL this past draft. He can impact the game at both ends of the ice. The start to his year was rough and he appeared to be going through quite the learning curve; playing in a new league and for a poor team. But, he got better and better every month and saved his best performance for the U18’s. He’s really the complete package in terms of possessing a skill set. Mobility, physical aggressiveness, big point shot, puck skill. It’s just about putting it all together and learning the position. When to go for the big hit. Making better reads in coverage and chasing less. Picking his spots offensively. Getting his shot through to the net more effectively on the PP. I suppose what I’m saying is that over the course of the next two years, we’ll get to see what type of hockey sense Samorukov possesses. Guelph will aim to be better next year in a tough Western Conference. Their younger (but extremely talented) players will all be a year older and if they progress well, this is a team that should make the playoffs. I see Samorukov doubling his points totals from last year and hitting the 40+ point mark. Source
One of the recurring themes in regard to Samorukov’s progression throughout the OHL season. Here are his splits:
- September-December: 35gp, 2-9-11
- January-March: 32gp, 2-7-9
Points aren’t everything, but the offense looks fairly pedestrian before and after turkey based on his OHL season. I decided to drill down a little on the Guelph defense awhile back and Samorukov was one of the top 4D at 5×5 and faced tough opposition (this is via Prospect-Stats).
"I came to Canada because I want to play in the NHL. Edmonton is the best team for me. Best fans and best city." – Dmitri Samorukov #Oilers
— Eric Friesen (@EricJFriesen) June 24, 2017
- Corey Pronman: Samorukov is mobile, particularly at 6-foot-2, and is more than capable at jumping up into the attack. His skill level isn’t elite, but he’s a smart puck-mover who can make creative plays. On defense, he’s not afraid to get involved in the physical play and can win battles. His game started to show more pace as he got used to the smaller North American rinks, and while his decisions weren’t perfect, I see solid hockey IQ in his game. Source
- ISS: Two-way defenceman who possesses a very good skill-set and skating ability.
- Black Book: Dmitri has good size on the back end and plays an offensively minded game. He likes to rush the puck up ice whenever possible and his skating is ok. He often made the smart pass but would sometimes get caught trying to force a play that wasn’t there. This improved as the season went on. Dmitri is a good puck mover in the offensive zone but is very aggressive when trying to hold the line.
TOP 20 PROSPECTS
- No. 12 (NR) LD Dmitri Samorukov. Two-way defender with good speed, mobility and he can move the puck. Improved over the course of the season as a defender but some chaos remains in his game. Has a hard shot, not yet the sum of his parts. Has a risk-reward resume somewhat similar to Safin. Pronman has him ranked and that is part of the reason Samorukov is inside the top 12. Source
I don’t know why they signed him today, Gregor’s suggestion seems the most reasonable. Based on his scouting report he appears to be a promising prospect with a chance to develop into something more. Anything we say beyond that statement implies things we cannot know based on numbers and scouting reports. If he’s special, Samorukov will show us soon enough. He will certainly get more attention at the rookie tournament in Penticton beginning tomorrow.