In the sixth round of the 2016 National Hockey League entry draft, Tampa Bay Lightning discovered a tall (6'8), tough (230 lb), defenseman in Russia, Oleg Sosunov. He's spent the past year playing with Lokomotiv Jr., and at the end of it was rewarded by a three-year entry-level contract.
From the press release:
Sosunov, 19, skated in 32 games with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, registering 79 penalty minutes last season. The 6-foot-8, 230-pound defenseman also appeared in eight games with the Lokomotiv junior team, recording 12 penalty minutes. Sosunov played in five postseason games with Lokomotiv Jr., registering three assists.
The Ryazan, Russia native has skated in 47 career games with Lokomotiv Jr. over two seasons, collecting four goals and 12 points. Sosunov has also appeared in 35 games with Lokomotiv over the past two seasons, including one playoff game in 2017.
Sosunov will not be playing with Tampa Bay immediately -- instead, he was drafted by the Moose Jaw Warriors of the CHL in the import draft.
Warriors select Russian Oleg Sosunov w/ 39th pick in Import Draft. LD, 6'8", 220lbs who was drafted by @TBLightning in 2016— Moose Jaw Warriors (@MJWARRIORS) June 28, 2017
In their press release, the Warriors spoke of how he will fill a void in a lineup that has lacked a large defender:
The Moose Jaw Warriors saw first hand what big, physical defence-first defencemen can do over a seven-game series during the 2017 WHL Playoffs as they fell victim to the Swift Current Broncos.
During Tuesday’s CHL Import Draft, the Warriors added a player that they hope can even the playing field with the selection of six-foot-eight Russian defenceman Oleg Sosunov at 39th overall.
Fellow Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Brett Howden was a player on the Moose Jaw Warriors last season, and will likely return. (Catch Howden this week at prospect camp.)
Here are some highlights of Sosunov’s play: