Only three games into the season after making the opening day roster, the Florida Panthers have reassigned Mackie Samoskevich to the AHL Charlotte Checkers.
Will Lockwood, 25, will replace Samoskevich on the Panthers’ NHL roster. In 28 previous NHL games — all with the Vancouver Canucks — Lockwood has one assist. In the Checkers’ opening week of their season, Lockwood recorded 2 goals and 1 assist in two games.
Florida Panthers need Samoskevich to round out his game
Sending Samoskevich to the Checkers after being held off the scoresheet in the team’s first two games may seem harsh but dig further and we see that the Florida Panthers need him to become a more complete player.
The need for improvement is evident by looking at Samoskevich’s relative statistics compared to the 12 other forwards who have played this season. For reference, relative stats are the difference between the team’s stat with that player on the ice and the team’s stat with that player off the ice. Samoskevich’s 5-on-5 relative stats are as follows:
- Corsi For%: -19.04
- Shots For Per-60: -21.48
- Expected Goals For%: -33.88
In all three statistics, Samoskevich is the 13th best among the thirteen forwards to play this season. Given his relative lack of experience, that might not seem unreasonable, but the numbers are not even close.
In CF% Rel, Samoskevich’s next closest forward teammate is Kevin Stenlund with -8.40. In xGF% Rel, Stenlund is the closest again with -12.65. One-game veteran Justin Sourdif provides company in SF/60 Rel with -19.63, but among the rest Samoskevich is still well off the back with Anton Lundell being the next closest at -8.33.
To summarize, the Panthers have been two-to-three times less effective with Samoskevich on the ice than without him — clearly something that could not go on.
While most would agree that Samoskevich’s shot is of NHL quality, the rest of his game needs to improve before he can take on a large workload with the team, as the Panthers surely hoped he had been ready for.
Rather than lowering his ice-time in the NHL, sending him to Charlotte to work on his game while playing top even strength and power play minutes is the best course of action for the time being.
Statistics sourced from: Natural Stat Trick
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