2008-09: Mackenzie Skapski played goal for the Abbotsford Hawks bantam team – which won a British Columbia provincial championship. He was selected by Kootenay in the third round (57th overall) of the 209 WHL Bantam Draft.
2009-10: Skapski played nine games for the Fraser Valley Bruins midget minor team in British Columbia. He was 4-3 with a 3.39 goals against. He suffered serious facial injuries when the team’s bus was involved in an accident in December 2009 and Skapski spent the rest of the season recovering.
2010-11: Skapski made a successful return from his injuries – appearing in four games with the WHL champion Kootenay Ice and representing Canada Pacific in the 2011 U17 World Hockey Challenge. He made his WHL debut with the Ice in late January and was 3-1 with a 3.16 goals against and .882 save percentage. He did not play in any playoff games or at the Memorial Cup. In four games at the WHC he had a 3.30 goals against and a .878 save percentage. Skapski spent the bulk of the season with the Ridge Meadow Flames in the Pacific Junior Ice Hockey League. He was 6-11 with 1 shutout in 21 games and had a 4.56 goals against and .890 save percentage.
2011-12: Skapski appeared in 19 games as a backup to Sabres’ prospect Nathan Lieuwen in his first full WHL season. He was 9-6-2 with a 3.12 goals against and .890 save percentage. Kootenay reached the playoffs after finishing fourth in the Central Division. Skapski did not see any action in the four-game playoff series with Edmonton. He was ranked 19th amongst North American goaltenders in Central Scouting’s final rankings but was not selected in the 2012 NHL Draft.
2012-13: Skapski took over as the starter in his second full season with Kootenay, appearing in 65 of 72 games. He was 34-25-1 with 7 shutouts and had a 2.78 goals against and .910 save percentage. Kootenay reached the WHL playoffs after finishing fifth in the Central Division. The Ice met Edmonton in the playoffs for the second straight year and in the five game series Skapski was 1-4 with a 3.95 goals against and .892 save percentage. Ranked 17th amongst North American goaltenders in Central Scouting’s final rankings, he was selected by the Rangers in the sixth round (170th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.
2013-14: Skapski attended his first training camp with the New York Rangers before returning to Kootenay for an overage season. Playing in 53 of 72 regular season games, he was 28-20-4 with 4 shutouts and had a 2.70 goals against and .916 save percentage. The Ice finished fourth in the Central Division and reached the second round in the playoffs. Skapski was 3-5 in 10 playoff games and had a 3.78 goals against and .882 save percentage. He signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Rangers in May 2014.
2014-15: Skapski made his NHL debut in a February 20th game against Buffalo and played for Rangers’ AHL affiliate Hartford in his first pro season. He was 2-0 with 1 shutout for the Rangers, ironically making both starts against the Sabres, and had a 0.50 goals against and .978 save percentage. Skapski was 15-8-1 with 3 shutouts and had a 3.17 goals against and .906 save percentage in 28 regular season games for Hartford. The Wolfpack finished first in the Northeast Division and reached the Eastern Conference finals. Skapski was 0-1 in two playoff games and had a 5.43 goals against and .821 save percentage. He played one game for the ECHL’s Greenville Road Warriors and was 0-1 with a 3.17 goals against and .906 save percentage.
With good size and excellent play down low, Skapski is poised and controlled between the pipes. He surprised most watchers with his excellent play when he made his NHL debut last year at age 20.
Currently recovering from arthroscopic surgery he underwent last June to repair a labral tear in his right hip, Skapski is expected to return to the ice early this season. He will be competing for the number one slot in Hartford with Magnus Hellberg and perhaps share the number one role with the older Swede. Should he succeed and perform well, Skapski could be the backup to Henrik Lundqvist as early as next season.