Photo Credit: Chicago Steel
Currently sitting near the top of the list in “Best Draft Eligible Names” for the 2021 NHL Draft, Matthew (Mackie) Samoskevich is a 2021 NHL Draft eligible prospect currently playing for the Chicago Steel in the USHL. Samoskevich is a natural born center, but is more than capable of suiting up on the wing, as he has done throughout the better part of two seasons with Chicago.
Samoskevich grew up in Newtown, Connecticut, and played his youth hockey for the Connecticut Oilers 14U AAA in the AYHL. From there, he joined Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep School for three seasons (16/17 to 18/19). In his final season at Shattuck, Samoskevich tore up the competition, scoring 36 goals and 74 points in 51 games. He joined the Chicago Steel, who selected him in the 2018 USHL Futures Draft, in the 2019-20 season, where he tallied 13 goals and 34 points in 47 games. So far this season, Samoskevich has continued his meteoric rise, scoring nine times and adding 17 assists for 26 points in 22 games.
For the 2021-22 season, Samoskevich is committed to the University of Michigan, where he’ll suit up for an absolutely stacked Wolverines team. Samoskevich will continue to improve his incredible talents under the watchful eye of coaches Mel Pearson and Bill Muckalt. Pearson and Muckalt have gotten the most out of talented forwards such as Matthew Beniers, Kent Johnson, and Thomas Bordeleau (San Jose Sharks prospect) this season, just to name a few. With his offensive prowess sure to impress right off the hop, look for Mackie Samoskevich to hit the ground running in the Big Ten next season.
D.O.B – November 15, 2002
Nationality – USA
Draft Eligibility – 2021
Height – 5’11”
Weight – 190 lbs.
Position – Center
Handedness – Right
Samoskevich’s Style Of Play
Samoskevich is an offensive minded forward who can certainly rack up the points, all while making his game a spectacular sight to see. He’s been on Chicago’s top two lines for pretty much the entire 2020/21 season, usually paired up with Matthew Coronato and Erik Middendorf. When those three are on the ice, it’s practically an offensive clinic for fans to watch.
Samoskevich is amazingly patient with the puck on his stick, and can wait out almost any defender or goaltender in the USHL. Aside from his patience, he also has one wicked wrist shot, which he can utilize from pretty much anywhere in the offensive zone. He’s played mainly on the right wing since returning from injury in late February, but he’s scored pretty much all his goals from the left-side slot.
As Samoskevich is mainly utilized in the offensive zone (48% of game action), he isn’t used much in defensive zone setups or on the penalty kill. However, he is more than capable of being relied upon in his own zone. Samoskevich has such poise picking out a teammate for a breakout pass, or can simply turn on the jets and create a scoring opportunity off the rush.
Arguably the most impressive part of his game, Samoskevich is an absolute treat to watch skate. Not only does he possess blistering speed, it only takes him a couple of strides to completely fly by his opponent. Second to that, he’s very elusive, and can evade just about every defender headed for him. Samoskevich is also deadly in transition, as he can either beat you with his quickness and agility, or he can stickhandle around a defender in a phone booth, and seek out a teammate streaking towards the offensive zone.
Where Samoskevich really impresses with his skating, is with his edge work. He’s able to dance around all three zones of the ice, making it extremely difficult for most defenders to predict his next move. Samoskevich is also ridiculously strong on his skates, thus making him very hard to knock off the puck. Watching his film, it’s sort of hard to pinpoint a spot where he could look to improve his skating, which is a trait most teams are without a doubt looking for in a prospect.
Simply put, Samoskevich’s bread and butter is his play in the offensive zone. In watching his game film, you could easily get lost while watching him fly past defenders on the rush, or by watching the way he protects the puck and waits for the perfect opportunity to unleash a beautiful wrister on net or seek out a teammate for a dangerous scoring chance. Samoskevich has the pleasure of playing with one of the highest scoring forwards in the USHL this season in Matthew Coronato, which only helps his creative, playmaking game develop faster.
Perhaps the most impressive part of Samoskevich’s game is his stick-handling. The USHL has some very talented defenders scattered throughout the league, and he has little difficulty embarrassing even the best of them. Samoskevich can easily stickhandle around the neutral zone and offensive zone at top speed, which is quite impressive to see. He is more than capable of entering the offensive zone using stick-handling, as Chicago sees the majority of its zone entries come via his stick when Samoskevich is on the ice.
Now, let’s discuss Samoskevich’s shot. It’s clear he’s put in some work when it comes to his power and accuracy on his wrist shot from last season. He’s able to unleash it from pretty much anywhere in the offensive zone with above average success, although he’s scored the majority of his goals from the left-side slot in 2020/21. Samoskevich also possesses one of the quicker releases in the 2021 NHL Draft Class.
As Samoskevich’s game begins to develop at the next level, he’ll be best suited with a centerman who is capable of capitalizing on the high danger chances Samoskevich creates. Look for him to be an assist machine who can also tally quite a few goals himself, depending on where he lands in the Entry Draft this summer.
Samoskevich doesn’t tend to see a whole lot of ice time in the defensive zone, but when he does, he’s more than capable of executing an efficient breakout, or delivering a pass to a teammate to start the rush up ice. It is noticeable, however, that he does tend to be a little bit risky when it comes to decision making in the defensive zone. Teams looking to select Samoskevich at the draft this summer may see his puck management in the defensive zone as a negative, but those risky decisions should tend to disappear once tougher competition/different style of coaching is introduced.
As mentioned above, there aren’t many aspects of Samoskevich’s game that need immediate attention. If he desires to play center at the next level, he may look to add a tad more size to his 5’11, 190lbs frame, but that would be icing on top of the cake. As good as he’s looked during his time at center with the Steel, his game may be more suited for the wing as he moves on. Look for Samoskevich to hone his skills and really round out his complete game at Michigan in the fall, and with that, he can become a top-nine NHL forward in the seasons to come.
When it comes to the 2021 NHL Draft and trying to pinpoint where players will be selected, it’s become quite the challenge with some North American leagues just beginning play due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Samoskevich has been having an incredible season in the USHL. Although he’s missed some time due to injury, he’s still scoring at over a point-per-game rate, and those numbers only seem to be increasing, as he’s recorded five points in his last six games as of March 6th, 2021.
For a player of his talents, it’s hard to imagine his draft stock falling much, if any, due to him missing time. Look for him to be a dark horse in the late First Round, if not, a for sure early Second Round pick when the Draft rolls around this summer.
Mitch Marner – RW – Toronto Maple Leafs
In comparing Mackie Samoskevich, please note that it is unlikely that Samoskevich will be able to reach the same levels of production offensively as Marner does with the Maple Leafs. However, Samoskevich’s vision with the puck on his stick is quite similar to Marner. Also, both players have an impressive wrist shot, and can seek out teammates while delivering a beautiful pass with ease.
In terms of skating, both Samoskevich and Marner are quite agile and are more than capable of changing direction on a dime. Both players are very strong on their skates, and can reach close to top speed with just a few strides.
If Samoskevich can reach anywhere close to Marner’s offensive output at the NHL level, whichever team that selects him this summer will be more than pleased.
stats from InStat and EliteProspects
Prospect report written by Paul Zuk. If you would like to follow Paul on Twitter, his handle is @paulzuk_81.
Looking for other scouting reports? Check out the Prospects tab for our other scouting reports.
Need a scouting report on a particular prospect, contact us today!