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Panthers top prospect Mackie Samoskevic marinating nicely in Charlotte

Oct 24, 2023; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Florida Panthers right wing Mackie Samoskevich (25) controls the puck away from San Jose Sharks defenseman Nikolai Knyzhov (71) during the second period at Amerant Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

After getting a taste of NHL action with the Florida Panthers to open the season before being sent down to the American Hockey League, the organization’s top prospect, Mackie Samoskevich is progessing nicely with the Charlotte Checkers.

Taken in the first round (24th overall) of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, Samoskevich unexpectedly forced his way onto Florida’s opening night roster courtesy of a strong training camp that saw him net three goals and add three assists during the preseason slate.

Samoskevich had two shots on goal and one takeaway in 14:36 of ice time in his NHL debut during a 2-0 defeat to the Minnesota Wild on October 12. He came within a whisker of scoring his first career goal early on, but caught the cross bar behind Filip Gustavsson.

He suited up against the Winnipeg Jets two days later and again put two shots on goal in 14:50 of ice time and finished the game, a 6-4 loss, with a minus-two rating.

On October 17, Samoskevich was sent down to Charlotte and made his season debut for the Checkers in a October 21 game against the Toronto Marlies. Samoskevic drew the primary assist on Lucas Carlsson’s third period goal which gave the Checkers a 3-2 victory.

After going scoreless the next night against the Marlies, Samoskevich was recalled and played in Florida’s 3-1 home ice win against the San Jose Sharks on October 24. Samoskevich only skated 8:16 and registered one shot on goal and was quickly returned to North Carolina.

Samoskevich then went scoreless in two home games against the Bridgeport Islanders before stringing together a three-game assist streak.

He collected two helpers, including the primary on the game-tying goal with four seconds left in regulation, in Charlotte’s 4-3 ovetime win over the San Diego Gulls and then picked up another assist in a 4-3 overtime victory against the visiting Gulls a day later. The last game of the streak saw him set up a goal in a 5-4 road win over the San Jose Barracuda on November 10.

Samoskevich would fail to produce a point in his next three games before he finally potted his first career AHL goal on November 20 in a 3-1 loss to the Cleveland Monsters at Bojangles Coliseum.

After getting held off the score sheet by the Monsters in the next game, Samoskevich tallied a goal and an assist to help the Checkers double-up the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins by a 6-3 count on November 24.

The 21-year-old collected another goal and an assist over his next four tilts before scoring twice, his first multi-goal game as a professional, in a 3-1 road win on December 10 over the defending Calder Cup champions, the Hershey Bears.

Samoskevich followed up his big outing against the Bears with goal against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in a game that was televised on NHL Network, and then picked up a pair of assists in each game of Charlotte’s back-to-back against Bridgeport over the weekend that saw the Checkers collect three out of a possible four points.

With the Panthers not possessing a first round draft pick until 2026, it’s imperative that Samokevich becomes a contributing NHL player in the not too distant future.

After a bit of a slow start in the American, Samoskevich has definitely found his groove He is up to a total of 17 points (6G/11A) in 21 games, and has amassed 9 points (4G/5A) in Charlotte’s seven December contests.

The future is looking bright for this young American prospect.