Aleksi Heponiemi

Florida Panthers
Photo courtesy of WHL.ca

Fantasy Summary

Talented and creative playmaking center with high offensive upside. Also capable of playing at wing if needed. Loses value in multi-cat leagues. Needs to add muscle and improve skating to play in the NHL.


Attributes
Fantasy Upside 8.0
NHL Certainty 6.0
Country FIN
Position C
Roster Type System
Shoot/Glove Left
Date of Birth January 9, 1999
Height 5‘10”
Weight 148 lbs
Drafted 2017 Round 2; Overall: 40

Observations

June 2018 – Heponiemi had an amazing second season in the WHL where he led the league with his 2.07 points-per-game average during the regular season. He only had 28 goals in 57 games but added a whopping 90 assists for a total of 118 points. His scoring rate dropped a bit during the playoffs where he scored five goals and 30 points in 25 games but Heponiemi was a big reason why the Swift Current Broncos won the WHL title and advanced to the Memorial Cup, although they were quickly eliminated from there. After his season was over, Heponiemi signed a two-year contract with Kärpät which means he’s going back home to Finland to play in Liiga. After that two-year contract, Heponiemi is likely ready to challenge for a spot on the NHL roster.  Jokke Nevalainen

January 2018 – Heponiemi represented Finland at the 2018 World Junior Championship tournament where he had two goals and no assists in five games. More was expected from him but Heponiemi is still eligible to play in the tournament next year. He did show some positive signs like driving to the net on both goals he scored and creating some scoring chances for his line mates, although they weren’t able to score on them. Heponiemi is a natural center but spent the entire tournament playing wing on the second line and second power play unit, so his usage was not optimal. With a strong finish, Heponiemi still has a chance to win the WHL scoring title despite missing almost a month because of the tournament. Jokke Nevalainen

December 2017 – Heponiemi is at the top of the Western Hockey League scoring race with 71 points in 29 games. Although he’s still only 18 years old, Heponiemi is expected to be an offensive leader for Team Finland at the upcoming World Junior Championship tournament in Buffalo. The 40th overall selection from last summer is starting to look like a draft day steal. Jokke Nevalainen

September 2017 – Heponiemi returned to major junior after being drafted 40th overall by the Panthers. The Broncos have a talented roster this season with the likes of line-mate Tyler Steenbergen, Glenn Gawdin, and 2019 draft-eligible prospect Logan Barlage who will be playing his first full season with the team. The first thing that stands out while watching Heponiemi is that he tends to be quite patient, with and without the puck. Heponiemi is strong in the faceoff circle, and appears to be uber-conscious of his defensive positioning. Despite being held of the scoresheet in his first game, there doesn’t appear to be any reason to expect a decline from Heponiemi in his second North American campaign, however the lightweight Finn will certainly need to add strength and size before his off-speed strategy will be effective against men. Brayden Olafson

June 2017 – Taken as the 10th-overall selection in the CHL import draft, the wildly talented Finn came over to the WHL before the 2016-17 campaign with some expectations but little fanfare. Instead of quietly adjusting to the smaller rink and tougher games, Heponiemi grabbed ahold of the offensive leadership in Swift Current and produced almost immediately. He was named the WHL rookie of the year after posting the most assists and points of any first-year player. A gifted playmaker with top-notch vision, processing skills and the ability to run a power play from the half wall, Heponiemi will need to build more strength before cracking an NHL lineup, but when it comes to pure skill, he’s one of the best in this draft class. Cam Robinson


Stats

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2013-2014 Ilves U16 Jr. C SM-sarja Q 6 3 4 7 0 |          
  Ilves U16 Jr. C SM-sarja 15 2 5 7 2 |          
 2014-2015 Ilves U16 Jr. C SM-sarja Q 10 7 18 25 2 |          
  Ilves U16 Jr. C SM-sarja 31 26 50 76 16 |          
  Ilves U18 Jr. B SM-sarja 1 0 0 0 0 |          
  Finland U16 (all) International-Jr 7 1 2 3 0 |          
 2015-2016 Ilves U18 Jr. B SM-sarja 39 25 40 65 24 | Playoffs 5 2 4 6
  Ilves U20 Jr. A SM-liiga 7 2 2 4 2 | Playoffs 7 1 0 1
  Finland U17 WHC-17 5 0 0 0 0 |          
 2016-2017 Swift Current Broncos WHL 72 28 58 86 18 | Playoffs 14 0 8 8
  Finland U18 Hlinka Memorial 4 0 5 5 0 |          
  Finland U18 (all) International-Jr 3 0 3 3 0 |          
 2017-2018 Swift Current Broncos WHL 57 28 90 118 28 | Playoffs 26 5 25 30
  Finland U20 WJC-20 5 2 0 2 2 |          
  Swift Current Broncos M-Cup 3 1 3 4 2 |          
  Finland U20 (all) International-Jr 10 3 1 4 2 |          
 2018-2019 Kärpät Liiga - - - - - |          

Highlights