Raised in the Red Army’s hockey system at his home in Moscow, Edmonton Oilers prospect Dmitri Samorukov is in the final stages of a year-long contract with CSKA Kontinental Hockey League.
The story was first reported on Friday morning by Sport-Express reporter Mikhail Zislis on Twitter. Agent Pat Morris confirmed that the two parties are currently negotiating an agreement.
“He wants to play,” said Morris. “He doesn’t want to sleep for 8-10 months in this current situation. And he, unlike some other players, has this option. We have been exploring it for a long time and hard. ”
Samorukov is a promising defenseman drafted in the third round of the 2017 draft by Edmonton, and turns 21 on Tuesday. He was quarterback of the Russian power play at the 2019 World Junior Hockey Championships in Vancouver and Victoria, producing a goal and three assists at his second world junior championships, and after a rocky first pro season at AHL Bakersfield , he would have played a bigger role there. in 2020-21.
This discussion included, of course, the Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland.
“The most important thing is that he is a 20/21 year old developing player,” said Holland. “If North American hockey doesn’t start again until December, we’re not sure, he has a unique opportunity here. KHL is an excellent league and it is in its backyard. ”
What is the blow for the Oilers?
While not the Netherlands ‘favorite route, the Oilers’ general manager is used to allowing young European players to spend their early years as home professionals, as Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk in Detroit, and more. recently, the Oilers chose Philip Broberg.
The fact that Samorukov only accepted a one-year contract leaves him the opportunity to return to the age of 22. He leaves with two more years due to Edmonton for his entry-level contract, which must be resumed upon his return. In these uncertain times, this decision should not yet be viewed negatively in terms of Samorukov’s long-term future with the Oilers.
“There is an unknown here – when the North American season will start,” said Holland. “If he plays in the KHL in the 2020-21 season, he will come back here to play at Bakersfield or Edmonton the following year. ”
Samorukov sits below Evan Bouchard and Broberg on the Oilers’ young defensemen depth chart, Broberg scheduled to spend his second season playing for the Swedish Hockey League’s Skelleftea in 2020-21. Samorukov and Bouchard, enemies of the world junior championships but teammates in training camps and then AHL Bakersfield in the Edmonton organization, have become good friends.
After scoring 10 goals and 45 points in 59 games with Guelph in his last season in the OHL, Samorukov found the transition to the American League difficult, producing just two goals and 10 points in 47 games this season last. The same goes for the course for young men D, and from a team that recently produced Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones, Holland hoped that Samorukov would grow up in a second AHL season without any pressure to be part of the NHL.
But often money demands younger Russian players.
He was expected to make a base salary of $ 70,000 US in the American Football League next season, with possible bonuses that could touch $ 100,000 US. His NHL salary is $ 800,000, but he is unlikely to spend much time in Edmonton.
Even though Samorukov would not be a star player for the KHL, he is estimated to still earn between $ 250,000 and $ 300,000 US, with a lower tax rate than he would pay in North America.
Son of former professional soccer goalkeeper Andrei and Svetlana, a diver, Samorukov grew up in the Red Army system where his brother also played soccer. He left Russia during his draft year to play for the OHL’s Guelph Storm, although he spoke of a missing Russian mother even in an interview with The Hockey Writers in January 2018.
“What do you miss more than anything living in Canada?” he was asked.
“My family, my parents, my grandparents, my brother,” he replied. “I would like to spend an evening having dinner with my family, but they understand. I’m still busy, but I choose this path myself. “