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  • 2021 NHL Draft: Matthew Samoskevich has all the tools to be a top offensive player


    If you are of the camp of skill above all else, Matthew “Mackie” Samoskevich is the player.

    Described as one of the best “pure skill” players in the draft, Samsokevich has fantastic hockey sense and the puck-handling creativity to take advantage of the way he sees the game. At 5-foot-11 and 190 lbs, Samoskevich is neither big nor small, but just in the soft area where his size is neither a detriment nor an advantage. He has suffered because while the talent on the ice is so plainly obvious, for some reason, it hasn’t translated onto the score sheet.

    Currently committed to the University of Michigan, his last season was with the Chicago Steel of the USHL, where he netted himself 13 goals and 37 points in 36 games. Impressive totals, but not up to the level you see of his talent.

    With Samoskevich, the hope is that he’ll be able to put it all together, as the tools are all there. He has the work ethic, the speed and the talent to be a top-level offensive weapon, and while this may not seem like an in-depth analysis of what he has to do to get there, the field agrees that “it just needs to click”. An ephemeral goal to have, but one that everyone seems to agree on.

    While not pertinent to his success on the ice, it would seem dismissive to not mention Samoskevich’s tragic past related to the Sandy Hook shooting. I don't have the tact to do that story any justice, so if you have a subscription to The Athletic, I urge you to read Scott Wheeler’s well-written story about Samoskevich’s experience.

    He isn’t an obvious home run, but he is a first-round talent while not getting the hype that first-rounders often do. Late in the first round or into the second round, he’s exactly the type of high-risk, high-reward teams should be taking.

    Pre-Draft Rankings

    #26 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)

    #19 by Elite Prospects

    #47 by Craig Button/TSN

    #39 by Dobber Prospects

    #27 by Scott Wheeler/The Athletic

    What Scouts are Saying

    - Will Scouch, Scouching

    - EliteProspects 2021 NHL Draft Guide

    - Tony Ferrari, Dobber Prospects

    - Scott Wheeler, The Athletic

    Would He Fit In With The Wild?

    He may be a long-term project, but anytime you can reach for a player whose game has been categorized as “genius” or one of the best offensive players in the draft, I think you find a way for him to fit. The timeline for his development is really up in the air, but Samoskevich has a top-six ceiling — or higher.

    He really could be the type of player that in five years we look back and think, “how on Earth did he go so low?”.

    Could The Wild Get Him?

    Rankings have him all over the place, going anywhere from mid-first round to mid-second round. Because of the way he’s being placed on most draft boards, he could be a bit of a reach at No. 21, but not at No. 25. It really does come down to how other teams value him. There may be a safer pick at No. 21 that makes more sense, but with two picks in the first round, if GM Bill Guerin wants to take a safe pick and then swing for the fences with his second, Samoskevich is that fastball down the middle of the plate.

    A Minnesota Relation

    I really hate to compare a prospect to such a high-level counterpart, but Mats Zuccarello is probably the closest thing the Minnesota Wild has to his potential. While Zuccarello doesn’t quite have the wheels Samoskevich does, they see the game similarly and can break down plays and plan out what they want to do. They both have high-level — borderline elite — playmaking skills and make the players around them better.

    While Samoskevich lacks the shooting ability to probably ever score 25 goals at the NHL level as the Norwegian Wizard did at his peak, if he can put it all together, Samoskevich could be something special.

    This draft board isn’t a ranking, it’s just the order in which we published our draft profiles and some guys we just wanted to write about.

    2021 NHL Draft Board


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