Weight: 180 pounds
Date of birth: June 16, 1999
Hometown: Volgograd, Russia
OHL Draft: Round 1, 2nd overall, 2016 CHL Import Draft
The Guelph Storm selected Dmitri Samorukov with the second overall pick at the 2016 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft after appearing in 28 games for CSKA Moskva In the Russian Under-17 league where he scored 4 goals and 16 points. But it was probably an excellent performance at the World Junior Championships Under-18 that caught most people’s attention. There, he scored a goal to go along with 4 assists in 5 games while also being a dominant defensive presence.
Samorukov has also represented his native Russia at the Under-16, Under-17 and the Ivan Hlinka Memorial.
Having watched plenty of video of Samorukov leading up to this Ontario Hockey League season, it was easy to see why he was being considered in the second tier of defenders eligible for the National Hockey League draft.
Defensively, Samorukov was above average. He could read plays extremely well and consistently be in position. He was tough to beat one-on-one with an ability to force the opposition wide and then take them out along the boards. Despite needing to add some bulk and muscle, physicality was a big part of his game. Once he had possession in the d-zone, he could make a very good first pass and showed ability to be able to skate the puck up ice.
Offensively, Samorukov has a bomb for a shot. He showed a knack for being able to get it through and on target. He would never ignore his defensive responsibilities and seemed to always make the right decision on when to pinch or when to go on the defense at the opposition blue line. He has shown to have good hockey IQ, vision and decision making along with an ability to create time and space in order to make the right play.
With that said, the transition to North America and the OHL has not been a smooth one for Samorukov, nor as expected. He has 4 goals and 16 assists in 65 games on the season, not bad numbers for a rookie defender. Two goals and four assists have come with the man advantage, so he’s shown an ability to lead the powerplay from the back end.
Consistency from game to game is the biggest component that has been lacking from Samorukov’s game this season. He can go stretches where his decision making is questionable and can cost his team. What is most disappointing to these eyes is that he seems to have lost his ability to get his shot through and on target. With just 118 shots on goal in just shy of 200 attempts, the accuracy has taken a major dip. And with his shot, he needs to find the target.
The Guelph Storm will miss the playoffs this season and finish 19th in the 20-team league and with one game remaining, his season is over with no opportunities remaining for him to showcase himself. Now NHL teams will need to figure out whether it was the transition to North American hockey and he’s more than he’s shown this season or is he a what you see is what you get? I’m willing to bet on the former.
Samorukov was ranked 122nd on NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings among North American skaters in January.
This is the profile page of Dmitri Samorukov at Elite Prospects