January 9, 1999|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (178 cm)|
|Weight||148 lb (67 kg; 10 st 8 lb)|
|WHL team||Swift Current Broncos|
40th overall, 2017|
Aleksi Heponiemi (born January 9, 1999) is a Finnish junior ice hockey forward currently playing for the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League (WHL). Heponiemi was selected in the second round, 40th overall, by the Florida Panthers.
After being selected 10th overall by the Swift Current Broncos in the 2016 CHL Import Draft, Heponiemi began his junior career for the Broncos in the 2016–17 WHL season. Early in the season, Heponiemi began to rise in draft rankings and became an offensive leader for the Broncos. He adjusted quickly to the play-style of the WHL and was named WHL Rookie of the Year, producing the most points and assists out of any rookie in the season with 86.
Despite his statistics, Heponiemi's final scout ranking for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft was 26 by the NHL Central Scouting. Scouts mainly praised Heponiemi for his efficient point producing, his creativeness, and his speed. Heponiemi was selected in the second round, 40th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft by the Florida Panthers. Due to his point-producing skill in his rookie season in the WHL, some think Heponiemi is a "steal" because of how late he was selected in the second round by the Panthers.
Heponiemi played in the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, a tournament not regulated by the International Ice Hockey Federation but still considered an important tournament for under-18 players. He played 4 games for Finland in the tournament, recording 5 assists as Finland finished in 3rd place. Heponiemi also participated and was named to Team Finland in the 2018 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships where Finland finished 6th and Heponiemi scored 2 goals in 5 games with the team.
Heponiemi began playing hockey when he was four years old, and has two older brothers, Valtteri and Ville. Aleksi and his brother Ville both played for the Ilves youth junior team and in the 2015-16 season both brothers won the championship together. His brother, Valtteri current plays for the Pirkkala Penguins, a third division team in Pirkkala, Finland along with Ville who also plays for the Penguins, along with Valtteri.
Regular season and playoffs
|2016–17||Swift Current Broncos||WHL||72||28||58||86||18||14||0||8||8||8|
- "Heponiemi named WHL Rookie of the Year; Steenbergen named Most Sportsmanlike". swbooster.com. Retrieved 2018-02-24.
- "157 CHL Players in Final 2017 NHL Central Scouting Draft Rankings – CHL". chl.ca. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
- "Heponiemi Selected by Florida Panthers at 2017 NHL Draft". scbroncos.com. Retrieved 2018-02-24.
- "Meet The Steal of the 2017 NHL Draft". thehockeywriters.com. Retrieved 2018-02-24.
- "Aleksi Heponiemi to suit up for Team Finland at 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup". scbroncos.com. Retrieved 2018-02-25.
- Olive, Jameson (2017-12-26). "2018 IIHF World Junior Championship Kicks Off". NHL.com. Retrieved 2018-02-25.
- "Heponiemi, leader of WHL's marketplace, is now the leader of the World Cup". jatkoaika.com (in finnish). Retrieved 2018-02-25.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
- Biographical information and career statistics from Eliteprospects.com, or The Internet Hockey Database
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