Dmitri Samorukov’s first foray into professional hockey had some tough moments and it appears he’s looking for a change of scenery. As first reported by Sport-Express’ Michael Zizlis and since confirmed by Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, Samorukov is closing in on a one-year deal with CSKA Moscow that would see him play there on loan from the Oilers for next season. Edmonton GM Ken Holland is aware of the plan and has given his approval.
Samorukov’s agent Pat Morris indicated that the current playing landscape in the NHL is playing a factor in this decision:
He wants to play. He doesn’t want to lay dormant for 8-10 months in this current situation. And he, unlike some other players, has this option. We’re exploring it long and hard.
While Edmonton will be participating in the play-in round against Chicago, it would take several injuries for the 20-year-old to get a look in their lineup. His last AHL action came back in early March before the COVID-19 pandemic suspended the schedule and eventually resulted in the cancellation of the remainder of the season and playoffs. While there’s no firm timeline on when the NHL or AHL 2020-21 seasons will begin, it’s looking like December or January could be the options. That’s a long time for any prospect to sit.
Samorukov had two goals and eight assists in 47 games with AHL Bakersfield this season and he may have an opportunity to make an immediate impact with CSKA. Veteran blueliner Nikita Nesterov is drawing NHL interest while Montreal prospect Alexander Romanov has already agreed on his entry-level deal; former NHL defender Alexei Marchenko has signed with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl so there are certainly some vacancies to be filled. A chance to get some guaranteed action (with the KHL schedule still on track to start in September) on a quality team may very well be the best move for his development next season.