• Alex Taxman

Prospect Report: Mackie Samoskevich

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Mackie Samoskevich has been a favorite of mine for a while now, and I’ve been really looking forward to getting the opportunity to write about him. Finally, that day has come. This past season the 5’9, 172 pound Chicago Steel winger scored 34 points in 47 USHL games, good for 5th in the league amongst 2021 eligible players. While Samoskevich’s production wasn’t eye popping on paper, he made a massive impression every time I watched him. I don’t like to directly compare one prospect to another, but Samoskevich is so similar to Seth Jarvis, and I can’t help but wonder if he’s poised for the same kind of breakout draft season. The 2019-2020 Chicago Steel was the best team in USHL history, and Samoskevich played a smaller role than his skill level warranted. With many of the Steel's top players moving on this season, Samoskevich will have a much bigger role offensively.


Skating


Samoskevich is an excellent skater, in every way. He’s fast, light on his feet, and deceptive with his crossovers. It only takes him a couple strides to reach his top speed, and once he hits it, he’s gone. He was one of the Steel’s top carry options, averaging 6.5 entries per game, and watching him, it’s somewhat impossible to find any flaw whatsoever in his skating. His agility is elite, his footwork is elite, and his speed is near elite. There’s a ton of film in this one, so keep an eye on his skating in each video, you’ll be impressed.


Puck Skills / Vision


For Samoskevich, I’m combining the puck skills and vision categories, because they overlap too much with him. Samoskevich’s hands are really, really good. He controls the puck at high speeds so well, and is able to stickhandle through heavy traffic like it’s nothing. Of those aforementioned 6.5 entries per game, 5 came by stickhandling. Samoskevich’s passing is fantastic, and he clearly sees the ice a level above most of his peers. He posted a 75% overall passing percentage on the season, and had tons of highlight reel assists:

Like, come on. That’s just unfair. That’s the type of play where I double check to make sure I’m not watching Seth Jarvis highlights.

Look at this perfect cross ice sauce:

In addition, the way he’s able to corral and control pucks contributes directly to his shooting ability, which again, is miles ahead of his peers.


Shooting


Samoskevich’s accuracy is elite. He can pick his spot and hit it from nearly anywhere in the offensive zone, and he has one of the deadliest toe drag releases I’ve ever seen. Despite all this, he wasn’t a high volume shooter at the start of last season. I kept waiting for him to develop more of a shoot first mindset, as he could be one of the top goal scorers in the USHL if he did. Finally, around the new year, Samoskevich started piling up the shots. In 15 of the last 22 games of the season, he had at least 2 shots on goal, often putting up 4-6. He scored 8 goals in those 22 games, as opposed to his 5 in the first 25, a nice increase. Samoskevich’s wrist shot release is NHL level, and might be the best in the entire 2021 draft. Check out his ’19-20 highlight reel below:

This is one of my favorites. Look at his footwork as he's shooting this puck:

Samoskevich is going to be one of the go-to triggermen on the Steel this season, so expect his goal totals to go way up.


Defensive Play


Samoskevich is a high energy forechecker and back checker, with the ability to play on the penalty kill. He got PK minutes in nearly every game he played, and that’s on a Steel team loaded with bigger and more defense oriented players. In addition, he averaged 16 challenges per game, the vast majority of those on the forecheck. Samoskevich also averaged 3 takeaways per game, making him a valuable two-way contributor.


Physical Play


He’s not a very physical player at all. He won’t look to engage contact, but he takes it well. He’s strong enough on his feet to not get constantly knocked over by bigger players, and he’ll only get stronger from here.


Conclusion


Samoskevich is firmly in my mid first round at this point. I think he’s going to explode offensively when given more opportunity this season, and will have a chance to be the first (non NTDP) USHL player chosen in the 2021 NHL Draft.


Thanks for reading!