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Florida Panthers Make Four Selections on Day Two of the 2017 NHL Draft

Cats start day selecting WHL rookie of the year Aleksi Heponiemi

by Staff /

SUNRISE, Fla. - The Florida Panthers selected four players during day two of the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center in Chicago, Ill.

"It's been a great two days for the Florida Panthers organization," said Panthers President of Hockey Operations & General Manager Dale Tallon. "We've added skill, size and grit to our prospect pool. We look forward to seeing them in action at development camp next week and are excited for their futures with the Panthers."

Florida selected forward Aleksi Heponiemi in the second round (40th overall), defenseman Max Gildon in the third round (66th overall), defenseman Tyler Inamoto in the fifth round (133rd overall) and forward Sebastian Repo in the sixth round (184th overall).

Heponiemi, 18, recorded 86 points (28-58-86) in 72 regular season games for Swift Current and recorded eight assists in 14 playoff games. Leading all WHL rookies with 86 points, the 5-foot-10, 149-pound native of Tampere, Finland, received the Jim Piggott Trophy awarded annually to the WHL rookie of the year.

Prior to his first North American season, Heponiemi spent the 2015-16 season playing for the Ilves U20 and U18 teams. He won the U20 championship with Ilves and recorded four points (2-2-4) in seven regular season contests and one goal in seven postseason games. With the U18 squad, Heponiemi received the Esa Peltonen Award as the league's best forward. He posted 65 points (25-40-65) in 39 regular season games and six points (2-4-6) in five postseason contests.

Gildon, 18, recorded 25 points (7-18-25) in 53 games with the United States National Development Program and 14 points (5-9-14) in 26 games with the club in the United States Hockey League. The 6-foot-3, 192-pound native of Plano, Texas, is committed to the University of New Hampshire.

On the international stage, Gildon represented Team USA at the IIHF U18 World Junior Championship, producing six points (4-2-6) in seven games and earning a gold medal.

Inamoto, 18, recorded 13 points (2-11-13) in 51 games with the USNTDP and posted seven points (2-5-7) in 17 games with the club in the USHL.

The 6-foot-1, 192-pound native of Lake Barrington, Ill., appeared in seven games with Team USA at the IIHF U18 World Junior Championship, earning a gold medal and skated in five games with the club at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. Inamoto is committed to the University of Wisconsin.

Repo, 21, appeared in 46 regular season games for Tampere Tappara of Finland's Liiga, recording 32 points (11-21-32) and appeared in eight games with the Lahti Pelicans posting three assists.

The 6-foot-2, 198-pound native of Lahti, Finland, amassed seven points (6-1-7) in 18 playoff games with Tampere en route to a Liiga Championship. Repo ranked tied for first in the Liiga playoffs for goals. With Tampere, Repo played alongside Panthers prospect Henrik Haapala. He was loaned to Peliitat Heinola of the Finnish second division, registering four points (2-2-4) in four games.

Florida selected Owen Tippett in the first round (10th overall) of the Draft on Friday, June 23.

The Panthers annual development camp takes place from June 27-June 30 at the Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs, Fla. All on-ice sessions are free and open to the public.

Keep up to date with all Florida Panthers draft news at

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