With the 2018 NHL Entry Draft fast approaching, let’s take a look back at last year’s five-man draft class and see how they did during the 2017-18 season.
Owen Tippett (First Round - 10th overall)
After signing his entry-level contract, Tippett started the season in Sunrise before rightly being returned to the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads. In seven games with the Panthers, Tippett scored his first NHL goal against the Anaheim Ducks and went -6 while averaging 11:07 time on ice.
Tippett put up 75 points (36G/39A) with the Steelheads, matching his output from the previous season in nine less games. In the OHL playoffs, Tippett scored 3 goals and added 2 helpers as Mississauga fell in the opening round in six games to the Barrie Colts.
After the OHL season ended, Tippett joined the AHL Springfield Thunderbirds and scored one goal and one assists in five games for Florida’s farm team.
Aleksi Heponiemi (Second Round - 40th overall)
The diminutive Heponiemi had a career year during the 2017–18 season, where he accumulated 118 points (28G/90A) in 57 games played, an improvement of 32 points over his 2016-17 numbers. At the conclusion of the regular season he was named the Pattison Agriculture King of the Road, the Second Star of the season, and the Eastern Conference Most Sportsmanlike Player.
In the WHL playoffs, Heponiemi racked up 30 points in 26 games as his Swift Current Broncos took out Everett to win the league championship.
At the Memorial Cup, the Broncos lost three straight games and failed to advance past the round robin stage. Heponiemi acquitted himself well in the tournament, scoring a goal and adding three assists.
Unlike Tippett, the Finnish Heponiemi represented his country at the 2018 World Junior Championship in Buffalo and totaled two goals in five games.
Maxwell Gildon (Third Round - 66th overall)
Houston native Max Gildon played in 36 games during his freshman season for the University of New Hampshire. The young blueliner scored 8 goals, including a hat trick on October 20th against Colorado College, and added 15 assists to go along with a -5 rating.
At 6-foot-3 and 191 pounds, Gildon’s size, potential and offensive abilities make him a prospect to keep an eye on going forward.
Tyler Inamoto (Fifth Round - 133rd overall)
After selecting Gildon, the Panthers went defense again by taking Inamoto 67 picks later. In his freshman season at the University of Wisconsin, Inamoto scored a goal and added three helpers in 37 games. He racked up 47 PIM , blocked 45 shots and finished the campaign with a -2 rating. He was one of four first-year players to play in every game.
Look for Inamoto to take on a bigger role with the Badgers this year as he continues to work his way towards becoming a pro.
Sebastian Repo (Sixth Round - 184th overall)
Late bloomer Sebastian Repo was Florida’s final selection in the 2017 draft. Repo scored 11 goals and 21 assists in 46 games for Tappara during the 2016-17 to garner notice.
After signing an entry-level contract with the Cats, the 21-year-old forward returned to Finland and produced 14 goals and 12 assists in 50 games, again for Tappara. In the SM-Liiga playoffs, Repo notched 4 goals and 3 assists in 15 games as Tappara fell to Karpat in the league final.
Which member of 2017 draft class will make the biggest impact with the Panthers?
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