Vancouver Canucks 2016 NHL Draft Profile: F Dmitri Sokolov

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; A general view of the podium on stage before the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; A general view of the podium on stage before the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The Vancouver Canucks are preparing for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft — and so are we.

Unfortunately, the 2015-16 season was cut short for the Vancouver Canucks, which means we have a long offseason ahead of us. Canucks GM Jim Benning and his staff will use the time to prepare next season’s roster, and the 2016 NHL Entry Draft will certainly play an important part in that process.

Vancouver started off strong in the fall of 2015 but ended the season with a thud. Thanks to their abysmal 28th rank in the league standings, the Canucks own seven picks early in each round. Benning did a great job in his first two years at the job and another successful draft could certainly help boost the rebuild.

Here at The Canuck Way, we will do our best to prepare you for the upcoming event by profiling as many draft-eligible players as we possibly can. Keep in mind that we are not saying these are players the Canucks are targeting. Instead, these are players that we think the Canucks could or should have interest in.

Today we will take a look at Sudbury Wolves forward Dmitri Sokolov, who went into the year as a potential top-10 pick but was unable to keep his stock high in his first North American season.

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Name: Dmitri Sokolov

Position: Forward

Shoots: Left

Height, weight: 6’1”, 205 lbs

Team/League: Sudbury Wolves, OHL

Stats (from 







NHL CSS Ranking: 129th (North American Skaters)

Risk, Reward: 4/5, 4/5

NHL-potential: Top-Six Forward

Draft Range: Second to Fourth Round

Scouting report

"Physically, Sokolov is a stocky forward who flashes creative, highly skilled no-look passes that are generally unexpected given his bullish stature. He’s not a high-end skater as his stride can be sluggish and heavy, particularly in lateral movements but he does use changes of pace and direction well.  Because he owns such crafty puck skills and thrives in tight quarters, he hasn’t had trouble creating chances with just average skating ability. Sokolov is armed with a downright wicked shot that’s extremely effective due to its quick velocity and a tricky release point. Sokolov’s quick mitts, unpredictable attacking routes and natural finishing abilities has him starting the year as a top 10 talent. If he can become a more dynamic skater, he stands to move way up the rankings. (Brendan Ross, mckeens Hockey 2015)"


Forward Dmitri Sokolov dominated junior hockey in his native Russia up to the point where he scored 13 goals and got 16 points in 29 games as a rookie in the elite junior league MHL. Scouting services had him ranked as a top-10 NHL draft pick, and the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves decided to draft him third overall. Unfortunately, he failed to develop into an elite prospect in North America.

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Sokolov is a big forward who can play at center or on either wing. He has a powerful stride that leads to decent speed, and he looks like a dangerous power forward at times. That is mostly thanks to the use of his body, puck skills and finishing ability.

Though he is not the flashiest skater, Sokolov can make incredibly flashy plays. He can handle the puck like an early first-rounder and has an excellent release and an elite wrist shot. Everything he does is natural, and Sokolov just knows what to do with the puck. On a terrible Sudbury team, he scored 30 goals this season.

That can be attributed to his high hockey sense and offensive awareness, which becomes apparent in many different situations. Sokolov is a great player in the offensive zone, where he can generate time and space with the use of his frame, always on the lookout for an open passing or shooting lane. He is a dangerous player on the power play as well.


Dmitri Sokolov is an extremely big player. Unlike most junior players, he actually seems to be a little too heavy, or rather have an above-average body fat percentage. In other words, Sokolov has fitness and endurance issues he will need to resolve before joining the pro ranks. He did, however, lose 15 pounds toward the end of the season, so that’s a positive.

Furthermore, Sokolov’s skating is sub-par, though that is the case with many power forwards. He needs to work on his speed, agility and overall mobility if he wants to make it at the next level. Some players just need work with a power skating coach, others never improve their skating to a level that allows them to play in the NHL.

Another issue is Sokolov’s defensive efforts — or lack thereof. He is an offensive player and does not seem to care much about playing defense. Plus-minus is flawed, but Sokolov’s minus-40 are exactly what you would expect when you watch him play. To be fair, there are six players on the Wolves whose plus-minus rating is even worse.

Final Thoughts

Dmitri Sokolov is a highly skilled forward with a lot of risk attached to him that is not necessarily going to lead to a high reward. Sokolov needs to eat and train like a professional, then he needs to improve his skating and work harder in the defensive zones. Those issues are not easily resolved, but if he manages to do it, he can become a good top-nine power forward.

For the Vancouver Canucks, Sokolov could be an option in the fourth round, as he carries too much risk for an earlier pick and Vancouver does not own a fifth rounder. On draft day, it will all come down to who is willing to look past Sokolov’s issues and trust that he becomes what he was said to be a year ago. He’s got the skill, the shot and the size, but he needs to improve his work ethic and skating foundation.

Next: More 2016 NHL Draft Profiles

Personally, I am not a fan of Sokolov, but that does not mean he can’t be an interesting pick for the Canucks. He just seems to be a lazy player with outstanding raw skills. The farther he drops, the better it is. Because he might be too much of a risk in the earlier rounds.

Corey Pronman has Sokolov ranked 27th in his final rankings, but I am sure there aren’t many scouts who agree with that rank.