Dmitri Sokolov

Darren Walker

Sokolov has the size and offensive skills to be a real difference-maker; unfortunately, he is not that difference-maker most nights. There is no denying his vision, skill and elite shot, but his lack of engagement and commitment is worrisome. The flashy Russian-born winger is as offensively gifted as any draft-eligible in the OHL this year. His puck control, creativity, playmaking ability and shot are all high-caliber. Sokolov is so smart and dangerous with his positioning, ability to pick spots and anticipate the game. He has the ability to be the first man back on the backcheck with his explosive first step, but you’ll often see him drifting back into the zone lazily. Sokolov’s in-zone play without the puck leaves a lot to be desired. He is dangerous, both as an offensive weapon and to the employment of the head of scouting who goes out on a limb to draft him. He has elite vision and passing ability, plus a ridiculously quick release on his booming shot. Despite improving his defensive game marginally over the course of the season, Sokolov was a real letdown this season as he constantly looked lazy and disengaged on the ice and seemed determined to maintain that desirable Jake Black physique. He struggled through the season with a shoulder that would regularly separate. He did have his electrifying moments this season, but they were surrounded by far too many ineffective shifts for an NHL team to spend a high pick on him in hopes he turns things around. Sokolov is a frustrating player to watch as he has the talent, just not the drive.  (May 2016)