Future Watch: Florida Panthers Hockey Cards, trio to collect -The Florida Panthers have made the playoffs. They’ve changed over the front office, but smart drafting and good player development have continued. The Panthers are already good, but these prospects and a few without cards will fuel them for years to come.
Owen Tippett was drafted 10th overall in the 2017 NHL Draft. In four seasons in the OHL, mostly with the Mississauga Steelheads, he scored 128 goals with 116 assists in 213 games. Those are elite numbers, and he has an elite shot, so that checks out.
During the 2017-18 season, Tippett got a cup of coffee with the team to fire him up. The winger still went back to the OHL, then played in the World Junior Championship mid-season, and ended his year with the Springfield Thunderbirds in the AHL.
In 2019-20, Tippett was in Springfield full time, and he scored 19 goals and had 40 points in 46 games. What works in the AHL doesn’t always work in the NHL and Tippett had to be better in his end and his skating had to improve. He looks good playing as a bottom-six player right now for Florida, but that could change. There’s still great upside there.
OWEN TIPPETT – THREE KEY CARDS
Aleksi Heponiemi was drafted 40th overall in 2017. After playing in Finland for years, this versatile forward played two seasons for the Swift Current Broncos where he scored 204 points in 129 games. In 2017-18, he won CHL Sportsman of the Year.
In 2018-19, Heponiemi played for Karpat in Liiga, and the rookie posted 46 points. He had the most rookie assists and points. During that season, the Finn played in the U20 World Junior Championship where he had nine points in seven games and took home a gold medal as well.
Heponiemi was on loan with Modo to start the season. Then he came back to play in seven games for the Panthers and is now in the AHL playing for Syracuse where he’s averaging a point-per-game early on. Heponiemi has speed, a high hockey I.Q., and skills that should get better when he gets more comfortable with the NHL in the future.
ALEKSI HEPONIEMI THREE EARLY CARDS
Spencer Knight was drafted 13th overall in 2019. Even at that time, the expectation was he would eventually be a #1 goalie in the NHL based on what he was doing with the U.S. National Team Development Program.
In 2019-20, Knight attended Boston College and posted a .931 save percentage and 1.97 goals against average. He was voted to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team, and his team won the Hockey East title. During that season, Knight represented Team USA in the U20 World Junior Championship and was voted a Top 3 player on his team.
In 2020-21, Knight reached First All-American Team status and won Hockey East Goalie of the Year. A few months earlier he returned to the World Junior Championship and won a gold medal. He ended his college career as a Hobey Baker Finalist. He didn’t win the award, but he joined the NHL instead and has looked good in limited use. He’s only 20. Collect him at all costs.
Future Watch: Florida Panthers Hockey Cards, trio to collect – Resources
- Florida Panthers Official Website
- Florida Panthers Twitter – @FlaPanthers
- Florida Panther Fan Merchandise/Memorabilia
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