Bill Zito met the South Florida media early Saturday morning following the first round of the draft and said he could not talk about the Florida Panthers reported Sam Reinhart trade with the Buffalo Sabres. With the trade call not complete neither Zito nor Buffalo GM Kevyn Adams would talk about it.
So, after saying “it would be inappropriate to talk about anything like that right now,” Zito was pressed on the deal again.
”Anything else?” Zito said. “Anything about the draft or Mackie?”
Oh yeah, the draft.
The Panthers picked 24th — well, 23rd after Arizona’s original first-round pick was vacated — and the draft went late into Friday night.
The Panthers drafted winger Mackie Samoskevich, a talented forward who helped his Chicago Steel team win the USHL title and will be joining what should be a powerhouse Michigan squad in the fall.
“He was a player we scouted for a long time,” Zito said to lead off his presser. “He is someone our scouts were bullish on, both as a player and person. He plays with an edge and can produce offense and grit. He is the sort of a dynamic winger all teams covet. We are just thrilled to have him.”
A native of Newtown, Conn. who attended Sandy Hook Elementary School but had moved on to an intermediate school on that tragic December day in 2012, the Panthers are getting a hockey family when it comes to the Samoskevich bunch.
Samoskevich has two sisters and they are both accomplished hockey players. His older sister Melissa won Gold at the 2019 World Championships and his twin Maddie played at Quinnipiac University.
There is a lot more to this kid’s story, I know.
And we shall get to it. With the lateness of the draft proceedings, the blockbuster news to follow and the fact that the media did not speak with Samoskevich on Friday means you’ll get to read more about him tomorrow. Promise.
Looks like a pretty strong draft selection to me.
One inside story is that Zito said that while he was running the draft last year, Shane Churla ran this one and that’s why he made the pick from the Panthers’ dockside podium at the Yacht Club.
Churla was hired away from the Canadiens in November after being Montreal’s director of amateur scouting. It will be interesting to see the moves Florida makes as the draft rolls on today. As we go into Saturday, the Panthers have a second round pick but do not have a third.
Anyway, more on the newest member of the Panthers — Samskovich, not Reinhart — tomorrow.
OK, there will be more on Reinhart as well.
FLORIDA PANTHERS LINKS
Hey, remember what we said about Reinhart? Well, as of 9 a.m. on Saturday, nothing has been declared official yet. It’s coming. Here’s what we’re hearing about the deal. (FHN)
AROUND THE NHL
So, the Montreal Canadiens made a controversial pick in the first round. Have to admit, it took me a couple seconds to realize who they took at No. 31 last night. (TSN)
— Here is what the Montreal Gazette had to say.
— Sam Reinhart isn’t the only one jumping ship in Buffalo. Earlier in the day, the Sabres sent defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen to Philly and got a nice return.(PHN)
— Is Braden Holtby headed back to the Capitals? (WHN)
— The Seth Jones Era in Columbus is over as he is off to Chicago. (Cbus Dispatch)
— Pittsburgh is looking for some sandpaper. They’re not shopping at Lowe’s.(PHN)
— The Islanders are in on a bunch of stuff — including Vladimir Tarasenko. Go Lou. (NYIHN)
— The Bruins got their deal done with Taylor Hall and it was extremely team friendly.(BHN)
— San Jose is thrilled to get William Eklund with the seventh overall pick Friday.(SJHN)
— The Red Wings are killing it lately. On Friday, the Wings got a big defenseman with the sixth pick then traded up for a high-end goalie prospect.(DHN)