The Florida Panthers selected American-born defenseman Tyler Inamoto in the fifth round (133rd overall) of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
In the season prior to being chosen by Florida, Inamoto played in 51 games with the U.S. National Team Development Program U-18 Team, producing 13 points (2G/11A) from the blue line.
After being selected by the Cats, Inamoto headed to Madison. In his freshman season at the University of Wisconsin, he scored his first NCAA goal and added three assists 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 for Badgers.
2018-19 saw more of the same from the young blueliner as a sophomore. Tyler again scored a single goal and doubled his assist total to six while playing in three fewer games. He blocked 65 shots this time around (second-best on the team) and upped his physicality, finishing with 71 PIM to lead Wisconsin in that category. Inamoto was the recipient of the Fenton Kelsey Jr./Mike Richter Most Competitive award for his efforts.
This past season, Inamoto set a new career-high in goals with two, scoring against Merrimack and Ohio State, and added five assists to match his point total from 2018-19 while playing in 35 of his team’s 36 games. Inamoto also led the Badgers with 79 blocked shots, 17 more than teammate Ty Emberson. He cut his penalty minutes down to 16 and finished his junior year with a -9 rating, a pretty number solid considering Wisconsin posted a 14-20-2 record.
Inamoto is a solid two-way defender who doesn’t mind getting physical with forwards. He’s a good skater and possesses a big frame, however there is little to no offensive element to his game, which could hamper him once he moves into the pro ranks. Look for the 21-year-old to return to Madison for his senior season in the fall.
What does the future hold for Inamoto?
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