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The Copper And Blue 2020 Top 25 Under 25: #10 Dmitri Samorukov

From Russia with a Stronger Game

Kontinental Hockey League: CSKA Moscow 2 - 0 Dynamo Moscow Photo by Gavriil Grigorov\TASS via Getty Images

Background and Introduction

The very first thing I want to say is that Samorukov has signed his ELC with the Oilers. This is important as the Oilers have a very unique sense of timing on these matters which has been less than kind to me this go around. So, yes, ELC signed. Not having that nonsense happen again. Thanks Oilers.

Dimitri Samorukov is a 21-year-old prospect who was selected 84th in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. He’s played three seasons with the Guelph Storm of the OHL, and last season made the jump to play 47 games for the Bakersfield Condors. Samorukov is currently playing for CSKA Moscow during the COVID shut down of North American Leagues. Previous to going pro he had a U18 WJC Bronze, a U20 WJC Bronze, and 2019 won the J. Ross Robertson Cup with the Storm. He had several appearances in the 2019 Memorial Cup where his physical play was quite impressive.

Neither his AHL production (10 points in 47 games) or his KHL production (8 points in 30 games) tell the whole story of Samorukov. At least I would hope not or we’ve got him way too high on this list.

At 6’2” and about 200lbs, Samorukov makes an interesting addition to the Oilers defenders. And he shoots left… I can never remember if left shooting defenders are something we have too many of or not enough of…

Shona Corey Matt Preston Jeff Ira
14 9 9 10 14 8

Here at Copper and Blue, we feel Samorukov is anywhere from the middle to the top third of Oilers prospects, but we all seem to agree that he has potential. No one had him at like 30 or something.

Why He Made the List

Samorukov finished his time in the OHL with a bang. Excellent point production, key role on a successful team and all that junk. But then he transitioned to the AHL and he sort of faded to the background. Not to say he played badly, more to say he needed time to adjust to a different speed of play. Which is again, understandable. Samorukov was never a defender that was NHL ready at 20 years old.

However, he has seemed to find his feet a little bit in the KHL. He’s been playing with Klas Dahlbeck and seems to be playing some good minutes in tough situations and winning accolades doing so. Samorukov remains a strong skater with a good shot and decent passing who is able to hit and take a hit.

It seems that Samorukov has been using this season to work on some of his growth areas like reducing the number of turnovers and making better decisions on the ice. During his time in the AHL and now the KHL, Samorukov has been putting in consistent effort to improve the weaker areas of his game and has been seeing special teams time during his stint with CSKA Moscow.

Why He Made the List At 10

Honestly, Samorukov has some areas to improve. Things like being able to make decisions and not panic, but he’s one of those players who has a lot of potential. Much like his slap shot in junior, he can either score a beauty of a goal or miss the net six feet wide and there’s not a lot of in between.

The good news for Oilers fans is the Samorukov seems to be aware of his most pressing issues and is using his time in development to work to ameliorate their negative impacts. Exciting. But he still lacks the offensive potential of some of the other defensive prospects… Broberg, Bear, etc. And his place in the Oilers defensive depth chart was pretty clearly outlined by his third pairing minutes in Bakersfield.

Samorukov is one of those prospects who seems very likely to make the show and play for several years but never do anything so amazing that he stands out. And that’s okay because the Oilers need so reliable and quiet players too. They can’t all be the next coming of hockey Jesus.