Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2015 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Sports is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! The following is a complete listing of all our 2016 Draft Articles.
Dmitry Sokolov was the third overall pick in the 2015 CHL Import Draft and joined a Sudbury Wolves team who found themselves at the bottom of the OHL standings just one year ago. He had an immediate impact, being the highest scoring rookie in the league with 30 goals. Overall he had 52 points in 68 games for Sudbury, but his offensive exploits were not enough to completely turn around the rebuilding franchise as they still finished well out of the playoffs. Sokolov also has international experience. He showed off his skill at the 2015 Under 17 World Hockey Challenge where he scored six goals in six games and led the Russian team to the gold medal. As an underager he also played for Russia at the 2015 IIHF Under-18 World Championship where he put up three goals and five points in five games.
Dmitry Sokolov Scouting Report: 2016 NHL Draft #66
Centre/Left Wing — shoots Left
Born Apr 14 1998 — Omsk, Russia
Height 6.01 — Weight 208 [186 cm/94 kg]
Dmitry Sokolov is a big power forward type who uses his size to protect the puck well and drive the net. His wrist shot has an extremely quick release and his powerful arms and forearms put it on net quickly. He is very good in front of the net, with the quick hands and good hand-eye co-ordination to get tip-ins and rebounds. Sokolov also has good lateral agility and can make slick moves to open up passing lanes, and create space. He is more of a goal scorer than a playmaker, but when he does see an opening, his passing skills are good, and Sokolov would likely have had more assists playing on a team with a few more finishers around him. Sokolov is willing to play a physical game, throwing hits in the corners, battling for position in front of the net, and fighting for loose pucks. He needs to work on having a consistent effort on a game in and game out basis.
Sokolov needs to work on his overall skating though, as his stride is choppy which takes away from his overall top-end speed and acceleration. As mentioned, he does have good agility and edgework which can make him elusive in the offensive zone. He is strong on the puck, and has good lower body strength and balance. Sokolov will need to work on his conditioning. He seemed to slow later in shifts and in games, and sometimes appeared winded. He also struggled in the second half of the OHL season. While most prospects his age, need to gain wait, Sokolov doesn’t need to add weight but should work on becoming a bit leaner and more muscular with the mass he does possess.
Sokolov’s defensive game is a work in progress. He has a tendency to get caught puck watching, rather than moving his feet and being involved in the defensive end of the ice. He also must learn not to fly the zone too early, and to continue to support his teammates on the breakout rather than looking for the home-run pass.
Dmitry Sokolov is a prospect with tremendous skill, and was expected by most to be a first rounder before the season began. His stock has dropped as a year in the OHL has shown some serious red flags in his game, including conditioning and defensive play. The skill level is there though, and Sokolov has high upside to become a top six forward. While playing centre most of his time in Sudbury. he may be more suited to work off the wing at the next level. Sokolov’s game is reminiscent of James Neal of the Nashville Predators, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on potential, skill or talent level.
The following is a compilation of Dmitry Sokolov highlights, assembled from youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the #67 prospect on our NHL Draft Board.