It appears highly-touted defensive prospect for the Edmonton Oilers, Dmitri Samorukov will be signing a one-year deal with CSKA of the KHL. Mark Spector of Sportsnet has the news out of Edmonton, noting that the player isn’t keen on the idea of sitting around and waiting for a delayed 2020-21 NHL season to start, when the KHL will be up and running potentially two or three months earlier.
And, according to comments from Oilers GM Ken Holland, he doesn’t hate the idea.
Spector writes that Samorukov’s agent agent Pat Morris confirms a deal with the KHL could be close. “He wants to play,” said Morris of his client. And, since the Oilers have a pretty strong pool of up-and-coming blue line talents, Samorukov wasn’t about to get a shot right away at NHL duty.
Compile that Samorukov is behind players like Evan Bouchard, William Legeson, Caleb Jones and others, the idea is to get Samorukov playing. “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,” Morris added.
What Does Holland Think About All This?
For some, the immediate reaction to an Oilers player jumping to the KHL is not exactly great news. That’s not necessarily how Holland sees it.
The general manager knows this is a unique year and set of circumstances and it’s good for Samorukov to get in game action against strong players. Holland said of the report:
“The most important thing is that he is a developing 20/21-year-old player. If North American hockey doesn’t start again until December, we’re not sure, he has a unique opportunity here. The KHL is an excellent league and it’s right in his backyard.”
This is a strategy Holland isn’t worried about. He’s done this with players out of Detroit, and in Edmonton, he recently let Jesse Puljujarvi head over to Finland and play versus trading the unhappy winger. It was reported yesterday that Puljujarvi might actually be ready to make a return to the Oilers.
Remember, Puljujarvi was unhappy. Samorukov, if unhappy, isn’t unhappy with the Oilers. He just wants to play. This move makes a lot of sense, especially if the Oilers keep a close eye on him and encourage him to return, should they have an opening.