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Panthers Excited to See what 'Beast' Sebastian Repo Can Do

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. - Sebastian Repo is heading to North America.

A sixth-round pick of the Florida Panthers in the 2017 NHL Draft, the Finnish-born forward told reporters at last month's development camp that he would finally making the jump from Liiga to North America, where he'll likely start the upcoming season with AHL affiliate Springfield.

At 6-foot-2 and 207 pounds, Repo brings with him neither the lack of size or experience that you would usually expect from a rookie. He's already played four seasons in Finland's top circuit and has been described as "a beast" by Panthers Director of Player Personnel Bryan McCabe.

"He's a man-child," McCabe said of Repo. "He's a pro already. He's played pro in [Finland]. He's obviously got the strength to compete at this level. We're really excited that he's free and clear to come over and start his NHL journey this season. [He's a] power forward, goes hard to the areas, heavy shot and willing to get in the muck."

A native of Lahti, Finland, Repo tallied 26 points (14 goals, 12 assists) in 50 games for Tappara Tampere (Aleksander Barkov's former club) last season. He also added in four goals and three assists in 15 playoff games, but narrowly missed out on winning back-to-back championships.

In 2017, Repo scored six playoff goals to help lead Tampere to its first league title since 2002.

"I've worked on my all-around game," Repo said of his development. "I'm trying to improve my skating and stuff. I feel like I'm a lot better now. I'm in a lot better shape and I'm looking forward to coming over here to play. I'm excited about it. I really like the smaller rink and I feel like I have a lot of things to bring to the table. I'm a big, strong guy."

A versatile forward, the right-shot Repo could potentially suit up at center next season with the Thunderbirds but will likely end up lining up on the wing if he reaches the NHL due to Florida's enviable logjam of talent down the middle. In addition to having former All-Stars in Barkov and Vincent Trocheck, the talented center group also features up-and-comers Jared McCann and Henrik Borgstrom, who projects to be one of the league's top rookies in 2018-19.

For now, Repo said he's not even looking that far ahead.

"I just want to do my best and be a good example for the guys that are here for the first time," he said. "I want to be a leader in the locker room and show my best."

So, what can the Panthers expect when Repo is at his best?

Not as flashy as Finnish counterparts Barkov and Borgstrom, Repo brings a more physical style of play to the ice. Even before he grew into his newfound, hulking frame, the 22-year-old never shied away from contact or avoided a tough battle along the boards. He led Tappara in penalty minutes in each of the last two seasons, accumulating a total of 146 PIMs in that time.

In short, Repo will look to make his presence felt every time he steps onto the ice this season.

"I'm excited to get started," he said.

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