Dmitri Sokolov should be a target for the Rangers in the 2016 NHL Draft

dmitri sokolov
Sokolov – Photo: Sudbury.com

One of my favorite things about the draft is the trends among teams. I find it so cool how we can see history for the most part repeat itself over and over showing some team philosophies. For example, anybody find it odd that Jim Benning of the Canucks has traded every second round pick the team has had except the Thatcher Demko pick? These picks aren’t just your late ones, these are those borderline first round picks that only strengthen the running joke among fans who believe Benning is never allowed to make a pick from 30-65.

In the Rangers’ case –like we saw in the 2013 draft with Anthony Duclair, Pavel Buchnevich, Adam Tambellini, Ryan Graves, and Mackenzie Skapski– when they lack early picks they go big boom or bust. This situation currently presents itself again for the Rangers. We are likely to be going for these kinds of players who slide for some reason and hope that they either mature or simply get to show their talents under the right circumstances. One guy who I noticed fits this criteria is Dmitri Sokolov of the Sudbury Wolves in the OHL.

Sokolov has shown improvement as he got used to North America this year.
Sokolov has shown improvement as he got used to North America this year.

This is Sokolov’s first season in North America, so he did have a rough adjustment at first. Then you factor in that he his team lacked talent to support him and it didn’t create an environment for him to show his stuff.

Sokolov is built like a bull, at 6’1″ and 205 pounds. He is pretty scary at his age but then he only adds to it with his creativity when the puck is on his stick and absolutely blistering fast wrist shot. He was originally seen as a possible top-ten pick, but he didn’t adjust fast enough in the OHL. When it comes to his skating, it isn’t necessarily a weakness, but he’s no Chris Kreider out there. He uses his body more like a power forward, and I think he projects as a physical secondary scorer.

Here’s how he compares to consensus second round pick Noah Gregor, who plays on a much stronger team with players like Brayden Point and Dryden Hunt.


You can see that the even strength numbers are significantly closer than you might expect, even if Gregor does have the overall lead in points. You can infer that Gregor’s numbers may be inflated because of his teammates and powerplay success. While Sokolov has done very well with significantly less.

He will need to work on his agility as most younger powerforward type players do at his age. According to some other reports, Sokolov has endurance issues and isn’t exactly 205 lbs of muscle, but I do think that with how pro hockey is now and days that will be taken care of through his development. He is likely to go in round four, so I find it hard to believe that the Rangers will pass on someone who fits their boom or bust mindset given his skill set. He is a project player but someone that we absolutely must try to add into the prospect pool.

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    • FYI – Toronto has 6 picks before the Rangers have their 1st pick in the 3rd round. They can put a team on the ice before we pick a player. Toronto will be a tough team in 2 years.

      • Yes, but they’ve been disgraceful for the past 10+.

        1 playoff run in 2010 aside.

        I’d take the past 10 yrs and next 10 yrs of NYR > TOR anyday.

  • Do you think he will be available in the 38th round, when we pick??????????

    On a serious note, this kid may help Pavel with the English language, assuming he speaks it !!!!!!!!!!

  • could this be the guy we got from Vancouver when we gave them emerson eatam if this is true hopefully this will pan out

  • Thanks Josh. Really appreciate your knowledge in this area bc outside of some minimal college action, my prospect expertise is pretty non existent. Articles like these will help us through a slow June.

    Anybody able to remind me of our current line up of picks this draft?

  • With the 2056th and final pick of the 2016 NHL draft the NY Rangers pick Frédéric Weis from Germany. Charles Dolan figures he may now be ready to play in the pros.

  • Good stuff Josh – enjoy reading your research

    I’m assuming Mantha and Iverson were not signed.

    I know you are an advocate of Hayes. Since he, Greider, Miller are all RFA’s at the moment have you ever done one of your in-depth analytical’s on the three of them?

    It would be interesting to see how they stack up against each other in terms of worthiness of $$$ and since we are talking shakeup – who might be more worthy to use as bait….

    • I can’t speak for Josh and his analysis nor do I mean to, but have you ever looked up the HERO charts for those three? (They can be found here: http://ownthepuck.blogspot.com/ )

      It depends on what you prefer from your forwards I guess, but I prefer playmaking and production…and Hayes easily grades the highest of these three in those categories; well into first line territory. I think it will be a massive mistake if Gorton and Co. let AV’s illogical on-and-off-and-on-again dog-housing of Hayes influence whether or not he stays a Ranger. An argument can be made that due to his offensive tools combined with his age, he might be the last of these three that should be used as bait. And he really doesn’t belong on the third line, philosophically speaking…but part of that is just our top 9 forward depth being strong of course.

      That said, I think it will be a mistake to let either of these three slip away. Yeah, if you get a trade offer that seems ridiculously in your favor as a GM, that always has to be heavily considered. Of course. Outside of that though, I’d certainly like to see all three of these guys on the roster next season.

      • I can speak for Josh, and I can assure you he is on the same page as you. He uses HERO charts regularly.

        No hyperbole, Josh is probably the smartest person on staff here.

        • No problem. I dig the HERO charts, but I also blend in a little eye test too of course. Where I am not at all in the know is how these things should translate to dollars, though – lots of moving parts there expanding it to that level to be able to accurately predict that. I’m not quite there yet in my fandom.

          • I agree on the eye test – need some balance to just data.

            Not sure how you would get a thumbs down for that answer. Tough crowd – and getting tougher by the day

  • When I’m looking at prospects, using the metric system for H/W gives a quicker understanding of body mass. The optimal ratio is where height equals weight +100(183cm, 83kg) the greater the variance from the ratio is a red flag. Highest variance is Dustin Byfuglien (195cm 118kg) 23 off

    Sokolov: 185.5cm 93kg, 7.5 off.

    With the mention of conditioning, guessing that’s more fat than muscle.

    When do Russians have skating issues? Even when accounting for how bad Sudbury was, the point totals don’t project that well.

    You can fix the weight, you can fix the skating but more flaws drive you down the draft.

  • what a joke..the nhl draft, to me is quite exciting..at least the first 2 rounds anyway…and having been there as non-participants over the last several seasons is a joke. this team needs to really get back to basics and build from the draft. tank like the penguins did, getting crosby,malkin,fluery, letang, etc… and we’ll be fine.

  • this draft will influence this team more for the players we trade and acquire going into or on draft day, than those we actually draft, most likely.

    expect Gorton to begin his team re-construction in aggressive fashion. he is no dummy, and can see the numerous players not meeting their cap allocation.

    this player Sokolov does strike me as the type of player we would draft. nicer article and insight, thank you.

    • AD, I agree I’m a Gorton fan and feel he will not repeat mistakes of his predecessor. I’m an advocate of building through the draft and supplementing with smart signings and trades. The operative word there is SMART signing and trades. I hope Gorton has the authority to put his stamp on this team and not influenced by Sather.

      • Yeah, I’m with you Jerry.

        I think Justin the other day referenced how a team has to be constructed with some of everything: emerging prospects, younger players, some vets and players acquired for certain holes.

        I’m looking forward to some changes within the team.

  • Wouldn’t it be great if the talented staff the Rangers have could get a shot at a first round pick? Maybe they will make a deal that gets them at least into the second round if they think there are kids that will be worth chasing. Altogether, let’s hope they get some good kids in the draft.

      • He’s so over rated Dave. He doesn’t make guys better he’s only getting slower and he doesn’t play tough. He a solid number 3 on a SC team. The problem is people look at stats and metrics and not what’s happening on the ice. The Rangers don’t have enough skill or quality depth to win a cup without a number one center. Stepan isn’t a number one center. The Rangers will never win the CUP with Stepan as their #1. Unless there’s a superstar winger or two and a top offensive Dman.

  • With 2nd rd picks, you’re looking for guys who would be 1st rd talent but they’re below average in 1 department:(in no particular order)
    Height- can get lucky, hope the other attributes bypass any issue
    Weight- can be optimized
    Skating-can be improved
    Puck skill-can be improved, but not much
    Shot-can be improved, but not much
    Physicality-I feel you got it, or you don’t
    Strength-can be improved, optimized
    Spatial awareness/hockey IQ-can be slightly improved, but largely you got it or you don’t.

    I have a friend who was a -player in 3 categories and went in the 4th round because his other categories are ++. If he can get his – to average, he’ll be a 4th liner in the league.

  • Looks just like where Bill “The Wiz” Placzek puts him in his mock draft on draftsite dot com.

  • Rangers had it all set for a long run of success Their fear of letting Girardi & Staal walk away in FA has killed them. They should have taken note of the Blackhawks, who identified their few core guys, and let other quality players leave every year and fill those spots with youth. The Rangers considered too many of their players part of their core. In the cap era, you have to let quality players walk, lock down only a handful of guys and retool from the draft and FA college players.

    Dreadful moves of past few seasons:
    *Signing Dan Boyle over Stralman
    *Trading Duclair (I know Rangers were going for it and Yandle is great but an awful move, especially if they don’t find $ to resign Yandle)
    *Extending Girardi & Stall both for big $$, long term with NMC
    *Letting Brian Boyle walk and signing Glass
    *Getting no roster ready players for Talbot (could have got Roussel and pick from Dallas)
    *Acquiring Eric Staal, he played awful for Canes past several years and gave up Aleksi Saarela and 2 second round picks, dreadful deal with his on-ice performance, if they were paying attention was easy to see.
    *Letting Hagelin walk
    *AV is way to slow in bringing along young players (also his MO in Vancouver)

    I know I said you have to let guys leave, but the bottom line is Staal, Girardi & Yandle blow up their cap. Rangers could still have Hagelin, Stralman, Brian Boyle, Duclair, Sarella, Roussel, all those draft picks and a BRIGHT future instead of a possible roster blow up.

    • Bill I agree with your words. I’ve said some of the same things weeks ago. This core is finished and for some reason management is still willing to hang on to guys who are done. This team is load with bad contracts. Several guys should be traded to make room for the next core. Time to move on. Hey gave it their best and just fell short. I thank them for some great hockey. Now let’s move on.

    • Paisan, I couldn’t agree with you any more than I do, your post is right on the money !!!!!!!!!!

  • Sokolov is apparently one of those Russian enigmas who has a distinct aversion to backchecking so I’d stay away from him. The guy I like in the third round is Brandon Gignac. If he scored more goals he’s go much higher than the third round but that kid can really fly and with development could be a top six. Also like Trevor Frederic & that Kusnetsov kid, if we are going to go Russian.

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