Sunrise, FL – Florida Panthers 2021 first-round draft pick, rookie Mackie Samoskevich has made the opening night roster, per Colby Guy of Florida Hockey Now.

The 20-year-old winger joined the Panthers AHL affiliate Charlotte Checkers towards the end of the 2022-23 season after his college season ended at the University of Michigan.

He joined Charlotte just in time for their Calder Cup playoff run where he recorded four assists in two playoff games.

Samoskevich impressed at the 2023 Southeast Rookie Showcase and continued to play well during preseason with three goals and three assists in six games of work.

Towards the end of the preseason slate against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Samoskevich played in the top-six, directly alongside some of the Panthers’ best forwards in Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett.

Bennett suffered a lower-body injury on October 5th that Panthers head coach Paul Maurice described as “longer than day-to-day” when addressing the media last week. If Samoskevich wasn’t already slated to make the opening night roster, that injury may have helped his case.

In speaking to the media during the preseason, Maurice glowed about the skill he already sees from Samoskevich.

“I like his pace,” Maurice said. “The hands, he’s got NHL hands. Whether the skill set is there and if he’s going to play in the NHL really isn’t much of a question. It’s more of, when will it happen?”

While with the Michigan Wolverines, Samoskevich recorded 30 goals and 42 assists in 79 games of action.

The Panthers will open their season on the road against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, October 12th at 8 pm.

📸CREDIT: Florida Panthers

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