Aleksi Heponiemi

by Jokke Nevalainen on January 6, 2018

 

Aleksi Heponiemi, LW/C

Shoots: L

Height: 5-10

Weight: 149

Born: 1999-01-09

Hometown: Tampere, FIN

 

Drafted: 2nd round 2017 40th overall FLO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Observations:

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

 

Fantasy Outlook: B+

Slight but creative and efficient point producer. Will need more developmental time than some drafted around him, but owns a high upside.  

 

Footage

Aleksi Heponiemi: 2017-2018 Highlights - First 21 games

 

 

 

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