Coral Springs, Florida – Macky Samoskovich It was a good fit as a freshman on a star-studded Michigan team last season, but the Florida Panthers forward is looking for a bigger role on his way to the NHL.
Samoskevich was Michigan’s eighth scorer with 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists) in 40 games, and the team advanced to the NCAA Frozen Final Four before losing 3-2 in overtime to eventual champion Denver. .
Selected 24th overall in the 2021 NHL draft by Florida State, Samoskovic was one of five Michigan players selected in the first round that year, along with four defensemen Owen Power (No. 1, Buffalo Sabres), Forward Marty Beniers (No. 2, Seattle Kraken), Defensive Player Luke Hughes (No. 4, New Jersey Devils) and forward Kent Johnson (No. 5, Columbus Blue Jacket).
Samoskevich and Hughes are the only two of the five who have yet to sign entry-level NHL contracts, putting them on track to be Michigan’s leaders and key players this season.
“I’m very excited,” Samoskovic said. “I have to [take on a bigger role] A little bit of a relationship with last year’s (Beijing 2022) Olympics players (Power and Johnson for Canada; Beniers and forward Brendan Brisson for the U.S.), so there’s definitely an understanding of that. And then I think it will be a very good team as well. I thought it would be fun for sure. “
It remains to be seen how long Samoskevich will stay in Michigan before turning pro, but the Panthers like his trajectory.
“In my opinion, he’s going to be a special player,” said Gregory Campbell, Panthers vice president of player personnel and development. “And I’m not alone. He’s got a little bit of protection this year because they have such a strong team in Michigan, so I think this year, he’s going to be even better.
“We’re glad he’s been through this and now he’s going to have the opportunity to be the leader of the team coming this season. I think he’s a guy who’s not far from playing in the NHL.”
Although Campbell stressed it was important for the Panthers not to sprint Samoskovich, he praised his skating and said his shooting has reached NHL levels.
Samoskevich (5-foot-11, 191 pounds) said he feels his skating is the best part of his game.
“I think when I move my feet and play with speed, [I’m] It’s hard to fight,” he said. “I think it’s definitely ready (for the NHL).one more thing i can get better [at] Possibly playing with contact. The NHL has a lot of bigs, so being able to get through it and get used to it, I think it’s going to be a big thing to get used to and get better. “
Samoskevich, who turns 20 on Nov. 15, arrived in Michigan after three seasons with the American Hockey League’s Chicago team.
He said he couldn’t watch the Panthers live against the Red Wings in Detroit last season, although he did watch some of their games on TV. The Panthers played the best regular season in their history (58-18-6, 122 points) to win the President’s Trophy with the best record in the NHL.
“It’s a very interesting team,” Samoskovic said. “So it just makes you want to be with them more. Hopefully one day it will happen.”
As for when that day will come, Samoskevich isn’t ready to predict.
“Yes, hopefully, as long as I’m ready,” he said. “When I came into the league, I wanted to be an influencer [player] immediately. So whenever I’m ready to do it, I think this is what I’m going to do. If that’s next year, whatever it is, that’s it, I’ll do it. “