The Edmonton Oilers had a wealth of talent to choose from in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, and took advantage of the impressive blueliners available.
With their 84th overall pick (third round), the Oilers selected defenceman Dmitri Samorukov, a smart, well-rounded and promising left-hand shot.
Taken second overall in the 2016 CHL Import Draft, the Russian blueliner has shown a lot of promise in just his first year in juniors.
In 67 games playing with the OHL’s Guelph Storm this past season, he showcased his puck-moving potential, registering four goals and 20 points, as well as 41 penalty minutes. He also suited up as an alternate captain for Russia in the 2017 U18 World Junior Championship, posting a goal and five points through seven games.
The 6-foot-2, 181-pound Samorukov is a big, physical defenceman who loves playing a hard-hitting game. He doesn’t shy away from throwing his weight around, and can even lay huge hits in open ice. Not only that, he is able to move the puck up the ice, and shows flashes of offensive acumen, with a heavy point shot and playmaking ability.
In addition, he has great stamina and is able to adapt his game and transition well as he moves up the levels. This is evident by his year with the Storm; he was immediately thrown into the competitive juniors environment, and handled the change with outstanding collectiveness; he even upped his game and stood his ground, and also worked well under pressure.
However, there are some areas of his game that he will have to improve on. First off, he needs to work on his overall skating ability. Coming up the ice, he will have to get faster, as this will help him grow and build on his offensive game. In addition, he needs to take better care of the puck and avoid turnovers and build on his two-way game, showing that he can be a complete player at both ends of the rink.
Overall, there is a lot of upside for the 18-year-old. He is a big, physical defenceman who can move the puck and has nowhere to go but up.