Niagara IceDogs had the honour of selecting 2nd overall in Saturday’s OHL Priority Selection.
The IceDogs had a pressing need for a franchise caliber center and took Pano Fimis from the GTHL’s Toronto Jr. Canadiens to fill that role.
“This is a franchise changing player, who brings the ability to be our first-line center for years to come,” Niagara GM Joey Burke said in a release from the team.
— Niagara IceDogs (@OHLIceDogs) April 4, 2020
Fimis is a gifted offensive player, he won the GTHL player of the year award and captained the Jr. Canadiens this season.
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) March 21, 2020
IceDogs fill a void on offence
Niagara took Isaac Enright with the 17th selection last year, and with impressive seasons by Enright, Landon Cato and Mason Howard it was very clear the blue line would be in good shape for the future.
The IceDogs also traded away Akil Thomas and Phil Tomasino, coupling that with Ivan Lodnia’s OHL career ending this season the IceDogs needed a major boost to their forward group.
Taking Fimis at 2nd overall is a win-win for Niagara, it fills a massive need and was an instance where the team took the best player available.
Fimis’ play making ability
The IceDogs added Cam Butler via the Akil Thomas trade, a talented scoring winger the team views as a big part of the future.
Niagara’s issue was pairing Butler with someone who could get him the puck.
Fimis fills that void, the playmaking center recorded 28 assists in 32 games this season.
Pairing a player of Fimis’ skill with a talented player like Butler could be a recipe for success next season for the IceDogs.
“He (Fimis) combines unbelievable vision and execution with elite feet and hands, and a relentless work ethic and strong leadership qualities,” Joey Burke said in a team release.
Two-way game for Niagara IceDogs Fimis
When a team selects a player they dub “franchise-altering” they consider that player an all-around star.
Fimis is no different, while he is a highly-skilled offensive player, his defensive game and work ethic shouldn’t be overlooked.
Although he is a slighter player at 5-foot-11, 157 pounds, Fimis plays way bigger than his size. He is relentless on the backcheck and isn’t afraid to go into the dirty areas.
Niagara believed in Fimis enough to take him 2nd overall and with his skillset he will likely have a major role from day one with the IceDogs.
Although he has big shoes to fill, Fimis is a player who the IceDogs think can bring their team back to contention.