Weight: 220 pounds
Date of birth: April 14, 1998, Omsk Russia
Position: Center/Left Wing
OHL Draft: Round 1, 3rd overall, 2014 CHL Import Draft
Last season, Sokolov played junior with Omskie Yastreby of the MHL in his native Russia. In 29 games he scored 13 goals and added 3 assists. But it was at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17 where Sokolov put up a dominating performance scoring 6 goals and 3 assists in 6 games and led Russia to Gold. He also performed well at the WJC Under-18 with 2 goals and 3 assists in 5 games.
When you look up the definition of enigma, you can easily replace it with this:
Sokolov has the skill level to be a first round pick, top 15, perhaps top 10. First and foremost, he’s built like a tank. He possesses a lethal shot with high end playmaking skills and a force on the powerplay. Simply put, he has the skill level to take over and dominate games. He’s put up decent points playing for a weak Sudbury Wolves team.
However, when I think of Sokolov, one thing comes to mind: The Russian Phil Kessel.
Concerns surfaced that he came to Sudbury’s camp out of shape and overweight. More alarming is that he showed disinterest in wanting to work on those concerns. While those same problems have always been attributed to Kessel, Sokolov lacks the skating skills, abilities and speed of a Phil Kessel.
Sokolov also lacks in the intensity and consistency department. He almost appears lazy at times, especially when the puck is not on his stick. He certainly has the skill set to be listed as a top 10 player from the OHL for the NHL draft, but unless he shows improvement in the second half on his consistency and work ethic, the skill alone will not be enough.
Sokolov made NHL Central Scouting’s preliminary list of players to watch as a B prospect – which means a second or third round prospect. On their November list, he was moved down to a C prospect – which means a fourth, fifth or sixth round prospect.
At this point, it remains to be seen whether Sokolov has the willingness and determination to disperse the cloud over the second half. If he does, and combined with his skill set, he’ll climb. If the status quo is what we see, then he’ll continue to drop.