Photo Credit: Mike Sullivan
D.O.B – June 7, 2000
Nationality – Russia
Draft Eligibility – 2020
Height – 6’4
Weight – 240 lbs
Position – Right Wing/Left Wing
Handedness – Right
Sokolov’s Style Of Play
This Russian winger is hard to miss when on ice, first and foremost due to him being a man mountain. His measurements read like an outside linebacker on skates as opposed to a potential future NHL winger… and he has only just turned 20 this June. People have talked about him potentially losing some weight going forward, but Sokolov naturally has a big frame, a frame that he really knows how to use. He should have been drafted in the later rounds in 2018. That year he produced 21g, 42p in 64gp on a poor QMJHL team, and was a Russian u-18 regular. Last year he had a mediocre year on a mediocre team… but this year has just found a different gear. Not only did he dominate in the QMJHL, but he also played at WJC for Russia where was good, scoring three goals and four points in seven games to help his team to the silver medal.
Sokolov has always had a great shot, and uses his mammoth frame to get to the slot really well. He loves to get involved around the net. Once he is established there most NHL defensemen would struggle to move him, and a crosscheck is just as likely to break the oppositions stick as it is to move the giant Russian even an inch. Naturally, he is also a monster on the boards who is favorite to come out of a 1v2 battle every time. But he is not “just” a fridge on skates. He has soft hands that he uses very well. As a result he can dangle round players or go through them. The Yekaterinburg native also has a plus shot and a good passing touch. His forte though is getting to the net, and alongside his size he has real grit and tenacity. Defensively he works hard, and for a winger is adequate there, even if not a defensive stalwart.
In terms of flaws, as might be expected from a player with his size, his skating needs work. It has improved a lot from two years ago, and now he can actually get from point A-B okay. But it will have to keep improving for him to make the NHL. He has, however, already shown he can throw his hat into the ring with NHLers and hold his own. Last year he managed to get to the Columbus Blue Jackets training camp after being one of their best players – as an invite – in rookie camp and prospects tournament, though he was then cut before the end of camp and was not offered a contract.
Sokolov could step into the AHL right away. With simply some improvement in his short area skating he could probably play in a bottom six NHL role in the next 18 months. There is the risk that his skating means he can’t handle the NHL pace full-time. However, with the skill-set to potentially be a unique middle six forward down the line, there seems a likelihood he could go in the first three rounds of the draft. He would be a steal in the middle rounds.
Patrick Maroon, Left Wing, Tampa Bay Lightning
Like the Cup-winning winger, Sokolov is a big body with some real skill and a plus shot, who loves getting to the danger areas and being engaged physically. Sokolov is also committed in the defensive zone, even if nothing more than average there. Like Maroon at the same age his skating needs work.
Prospect report written by Alexander Appleyard. If you would like to follow Alexander on Twitter, his handle is @Avappleyard.
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