According to the team Sunday morning, the Florida Panthers have recalled forward Aleksi Heponiemi from the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers on an emergency basis. The Panthers were able to use an emergency recall after they played a skater short last night with Aleksander Barkov out due to illness.
This is Heponiemi’s second appearance on the Panthers’ roster this season. He was called up earlier in the month, playing two games before Florida returned him to the Checkers. He registered an assist and a +1 rating while averaging 10:28 of ice time.
A second-round pick in 2017, Heponiemi’s clout skyrocketed after a 118-point season with the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos in 2017-18. While his speed remains tantalizing, the scoring pace hasn’t quite translated to professional hockey, at least in North America. The Finn now serves as an alternate captain in Charlotte and has four goals, three assists, and seven points in 16 games there in 2022-23.
Unfortunately, even if Heponiemi can impress during his call-ups this year, he likely won’t be able to stay in the NHL. It’s another example of what can happen when a team flies too close to the sun in terms of the salary cap. Even with forward Anthony Duclair on long-term injured reserve, the team had just $82,675 remaining in their LTIR pool, according to CapFriendly, and could not add another contract to the active roster. By playing a skater short, the Panthers made themselves eligible for an emergency recall the following day without exceeding the cap’s Upper Limit.