Photo courtesy of NHL.com.
The Pittsburgh Penguins added some defensive depth into the organization with the signing of Dmitri Samorukov to a one-year, $775K contract for the 2023-2024 season.
Samorukov was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2017 NHL Draft by the Edmonton Oilers. Before being drafted, Samorukov played in the MHL, a Russian League and then he played Major Junior Hockey in the OHL for the Guelph Storm. In his draft season with the Storm he had 4 goals and 16 assists in 67 games.
After being drafted by Edmonton, Samorukov was sent back to Guelph and improved his numbers, scoring 11 goals and 23 assists in 62 games. He was signed to a professional contract later in the season and played 5 games in Bakersfield of the AHL. After just 5 games in the AHL, Samorukov was sent back to the OHL for the 2018-1019 season and in 59 games he scored 10 goals and 35 assists in 59 games. In 2019-2022 he played a full season for the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL and ended the season with 2 goals and 8 assists in 47 games.
Samorukov played the 2020-2021 season back home in Russia, playing in 48 games and tallying 2 goals and 8 assists. Once again he played a full season in the AHL in 2021-2022 and finally got a call up to the NHL, playing 1 game for Edmonton. On October 9th 2022 he was traded to St. Louis for fellow Russian Klim Kostin. He spent the 2022-2023 playing in the AHL for Springfield and got called up to play 2 games with St. Louis. He was not tendered a contract for the 2023-2024 season.
Samorukov is an abrasive defenseman who is hard to play against. He loves to win battles against the boards and does an efficient job of moving the puck. He has a hard slapshot but the accuracy has always been a question mark. He understands positioning in the defensive end and is a player you can pair with an offensive type of defenseman. He loves to throw his body around and will be on the statsheet every game in the hits category.
His skating and edgework is not the best and he struggles at times carrying the puck with his head down. He’s not going to be a force on the offensive end but does a good job of protecting his point. His play is spotty at times and feels like he has games where he is disinterested.
Kyle Dubas has built the organizational depth of the Penguins by signing ex-NHL players who bring some experience. Samorukov is only 24 years old and still has some upside that can be used at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Dubas has given the Penguins depth throughout the minors, which should pay dividends later in the year and possibly at the trade deadline.