I am very fortunate to have access to every OHL game something that most if not all fans in Edmonton do not have. The whole point of my website (check out the About section) was to provide diehard fans like myself as much access as they can handle. I’ve been following the OHL for 25 years and while I’m not a professional scout I’d like to think I know a thing or two about scouting Prospects (check out Scouting tab for more info) and do a pretty good job projecting to the next level.
So throughout the year I will try to provide weekly updates on the Oilers prospects in the Ontario Hockey League. Unfortunately, there are only 3 currently – Kirill Maksimov, Dylan Wells and Dmitri Samorukov. Fortunately, that makes my job easier so I will touch on all 3 each week as well as any other players that may catch my eye (especially draft eligible players). @EdProspectWatch does a great job of posting highlights of all Edmonton Oilers prospects. If you don’t follow him on Twitter or Youtube I highly recommend you do here. It’s important to remember though that often when we see these highlights of a guy we form an opinion solely based off of that. While I will certainly try and show you all the good plays I will also attempt to illustrate potential deficiencies I see in a prospect’s game too either in writing or thru video and track their progress. Most of the games are not HD so a lot of the tape will be raw but should give you valuable insight into a player’s overall game. The more information you have the better in my opinion. Now time for my Number 1 ranked OHL Prospect….
Kirill Maksimov (#13), Niagara Ice Dogs
There are definitely some similarities between he and Draisaitl’s game in my opinion. They almost look like the same player at times on the ice in different jerseys. Maksimov shows great poise, is very patient with the puck and has a blistering one timer. He has a great knack for finding open spots on the ice. On the PP, he is always on the left half wall just waiting to unload his cannon one-timer from the top of the circle. He is a threat every time he touches the puck. He’s good along the boards and is an aggressive forechecker. He’s not the fastest skater in the world can get caught floating at times but like Draisaitl when he wants to he can accelerate. Just needs to keep his feet moving. Here are his highlights against Hamilton where he scored once but could have easily had three:
What. A. Shot. I raved about him before the draft, during the draft and now post draft. I’m telling you folks, get excited because this kid is an NHLer. What I’ve really noticed having followed him since last year is how much more patient he is now. The game just slows down for him. Last year, I compared him to Anton Slepyshev in that he was a forechecking demon with a blistering shot. Now, he conserves his energy more doesn’t just go blindly into a corner he slows down, tries to read the play. He appears to be much more confident (getting drafted does that to many) is bigger and stronger and is a very smart player with great positioning adept at finding the open ice. He’s not quite the passer Draisaitl is he is more of a shoot first type of player but his wrist shot, slap shot and one-timer are all elite and NHL caliber. He shows a much more willingness to get back and help out defensively too which is a great sign. This kid is dynamite.
Dylan Wells (#30), Peterborough Petes
Good goalie on a bad team.
One thing to keep in mind with Wells is his team is pretty bad defensively. In my “Rating the Top 5 OHL Goalies” I talk about how he makes some tremendous saves some nights then will let in a softie. I worry about him staying focused and developing bad habits behind such a porous defence. It has to be a mental grind facing 30+ shots a night over and over again. No doubt though the kid has talent. Quite often he keeps his team in games they have no business being in making him one of the best goalies in the OHL.
In the season opener vs. Erie, Wells played good not great. He gave up a shorthanded goal late in the 2nd period that was a real back breaker pretty much sealed the game. Had a few really nice saves probably would have liked to have a couple goals back. 27 saves on 31 shots. Highlights here if you’re interested:
Against Peterborough he made 20 saves in the 1st period 4 or 5 of which were outstanding. The two goals against on 6 shots in the second were both re-directs he didn’t have much of a chance on either. Overall it was an excellent performance that night. 33 saves on 35 shots.
A home and home versus Niagara this weekend means we get to see Maksimov versus Wells at least once. I was going to wait till Monday to post my weekly wrapup but decided to do it now then will again on Monday. Looking forward to see both players go head to head.
Dmitri “Dima” Samorukov (#5), Guelph Storm
Has the skill but does he have the will? Samorukov is a big guy with a big shot. The problem with him is he is very inconsistent and at times just looks plain disinterested. That is a huge red flag in my books as we all know you can’t teach heart and passion. He makes mistakes defensively not because he’s young but because quite frankly….he’s lazy.
The season opener vs. Sarnia he was barely noticeable. He was paired with SJ 6th rounder Matt Shoemaker (#3). Didn’t do anything offensively and defensively made a few lazy plays, one decent hit and that was about it. Didn’t get any PP time it was all Merkley and McFadden on the point. -1 for the night.
Against Guelph, Dima and Shoemaker were on the ice for all 4 goals against (one was a PP goal). On the 1st goal, Shoemaker loses a puck battle easily and doesn’t hustle to get back in the play while Samorukov casually just kinda stands there and watches it happen. Goal. The 2nd was a PP goal he was just protecting an area, the 3rd was an atrocious play by Shoemaker again as he gets beat at the blue line, tries to hook the guy that beat him then just totally gives up. Samorukov just stands there makes it look like he’s tying up his man. Goal. Ugh, that was pathetic. 4th goal Dima chases his man to the blueline hacking him along the way shot from point goes in thanks to a Shoemaker screen. Goal. Brutal showing for the pair. Here’s the video of all 4 goals:
Against Oshawa, I didn’t watch him a lot live to be honest I was more focused on the Niagara game. I did tune in for a few mins here and there caught his nice assist then went back and watched some more tape. He had a nice rush made a man miss that set up a goal. He also made a real nice outlet pass that led to a good scoring chance but that’s not really the issue I have with his game. I feel like Guelph wants Samorukov to work on the defensive side of the game but his lack of desire to do so is going to render him rather ineffective. Too often he just stands there defensively giving up easy scoring chances. He doesn’t challenge shooters or make it hard for them to go to the net he just conveniently gets out of the way. It’s very frustrating to watch a guy with that size play such a casual defensive game.
Brock Otten tweeted out earlier this month that he picked Samorukov as a potential 40 point guy this year due to break out. I respect Brock Otten’s opinion very much he’s the best at what he does but there is just a good a chance this kid becomes Markus Niemelainen 2.0 and regresses this year if they don’t change things up. Why? For one, he’s not getting powerplay time right now and his partner is awful. More importantly though, his willingness to compete is spotty at best. The best case scenario in my mind would be to pair him with talented rookie Owen Lalonde who is a RHD and give Dima looks on the Top PP. That should boost his confidence and give him a bit of a leadership role mentoring his 17 yr old partner instead of running shotgun with the 19 yr old Shoemaker. He has the skill he just needs to be motivated.
Again, it’s early it’s only been 3 games but judging by how he ended last season and now started this one – it’s not looking good so far. Hopefully he can turn it around and find some passion and determination in his game. I’ll be watching closely and keep you updated as always if and when he does.
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