2021-22 Team: Niagara Icedogs (#19)
Date of Birth: June 17, 2004
Place of Birth: Richmond Hill, ON, Canada
Ht: 5-foot-11 Wt: 176 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 75th (amongst North American Skaters)
- Peter Baracchini’s May Rankings: 84th
- Andrew Forbes’ March Rankings: 77th
- Matthew Zator’s April Rankings: 76th
- Bob McKenzie’s Rankings: 74th
- Future Considerations: 77th
To say it was a tough season for the Niagara Icedogs would be putting it mildly. On the ice, they finished in dead last place one point behind the Saginaw Spirit. To make matters worse, the OHL instituted a draft lottery to determine the order of the first four picks. In previous years, the Icedogs would have picked first and landed an exceptional player in Michael Misa.
As luck would have it, the Icedogs dropped from first to fourth as a result of the lottery and missed out on both Misa and Malcolm Spence. Then off the ice, their GM Joey Burke and head coach Billy Burke were indefinitely suspended by the OHL for comments they made in a WhatsApp chat. They are unable to apply for reinstatement until at least June 1, 2024.
Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide
All of these events have suppressed the story of an up and coming star in the OHL. The Icedogs selected Pano Fimis with the second-overall pick of the 2020 OHL Priority Selection. Only North Bay’s Ty Nelson was selected ahead of him. As the consensus best forward available in the draft, the Icedogs seemed to have a bright future ahead.
However thanks in large part to the team on the ice, Fimis struggled to find consistency. He showed some flashes of his talent including a beautiful end-to-end goal he scored against the Hamilton Bulldogs. His final line for the season was 14-30-44 in 54 games. His 44 points was second on the team for those who were there the entire season. Like many of his peers, Fimis missed what would have been his regular rookie season due to the pandemic. One has to wonder how much of an effect the time away had.
What stands out about Fimis? The first thing you’ll notice is how creative he is with the puck. He can drive his own line and create offense from anywhere on the ice. He’s good at reading developing plays. He’ll then hit teammates with good passes. Then when given the chance, he can attack on his own and beat defenders in one-on-one situations.
Fimis can also finish. He is a good shooter and can find ways to open shooting lanes for himself. He scored just 14 goals this past season. But that is a reflection of the situation on the ice. One could argue he played well for himself given the less than ideal circumstances surrounding the team. He was selected to play for Team Canada at the recently completed under-18’s.
Fimis is still developing into a two-way center. He took over 900 draws this season and won under 45% of them. Part of his development will involve not only getting stronger, but being stronger on pucks. If there’s one obvious need for improvement, it’s that he was pushed off too many pucks due to his smaller frame.
Overall, whoever drafts Fimis will get someone who could be one of the best players in the OHL for the next 1-2 seasons. His offensive prowess combined with his high hockey IQ make him one of the most interesting day two players available. If teams can see past the Icedogs’ drama and his lack of production from last season, they might land one of the bigger steals of the entire draft.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Pano Fimis — NHL Draft Projection
Fimis is an interesting case. Many in the industry have him going as early as the third round while others having him going in the late rounds. It depends what lens you look at. The numbers aren’t eye popping but the skill is tantalizing. If he was bigger and stronger he could be in the first-round discussion. But as is, teams will look at him in the middle rounds. He could end up being one of the better value picks of this draft.
“Two-way center with good vision and a solid off-puck game. Has the potential to develop into a reliable middle-six NHL forward.” – Nick Richard, Dobber Prospects
“Fimis is a creative player who seems to be able to make something out of nothing. He has Charmin soft hands and can find his way out of traffic, scan the zone and then dish off a tape-to-tape pass. It’s his ability to read and react that makes him a force to contend with and that goes for 5vs5, the powerplay and the penalty kill.” –Dominic Tiano, OHL Writers
“Fimis is a slender pivot who makes his presence known around the puck in all three zones and has the skill level and possession-focused game to drive a line. He has a nonstop motor and his quick feet and high pace cause hurried decisions and turnovers from the opposition, as well as rush chances for his team.” –Joseph Aleong, Future Considerations
““I’m projecting a bit here because Fimis’ numbers haven’t been eye-popping, but I see the upside in his creative offensive game and he’s got the great pedigree.” –Ryan Kennedy, The Hockey News
“Pano Fimis has excellent positioning in his own zone. Goes down low and patrols the red line. He can be rather aggressive behind his net, which is intriguing given his smaller frame. When in control of the puck, Fimis has proven that he can execute will-timed and well placed passes. He has an affinity for backhand lengthier feeds and that has led to a few Niagara goals this season. From a shooting perspective, Fimis loves draining one-timers and gets plenty of power in his shot thanks to his weight transfer. Ideally, I would like to see him stronger at trapping possession for pucks off of passes and work on wrapping around defenders on his way to the slot.” – Josh Tessler, Smaht Scouting
- Creative playmaker
- Above average skater
- Vision in all three zones
- Good hands
- Very smart
Under Construction — Improvements to Make
- Needs to be stronger on pucks/puck protection
- Faceoff percentage
The question with Fimis is can he be a center in the NHL. He clearly has the tools necessary to get there. It’s just a matter of development and adding the necessary strength it will take to endure a grueling NHL schedule. Middle-six center is not out of the question for him.
Risk — 4/5, Reward — 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense — 8/10, Defense — 5/10
Fimis was the second overall pick in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection. He was named OHL Central Division Academic Player of the Month for January 2022.
Pano Fimis Statistics
Latest News & Highlights
I am a fully credentialed writer who covers the Columbus Blue Jackets, Cleveland Monsters and Erie Otters as well as the Ontario Hockey League and NHL Draft. The 2022-23 season will mark nine seasons with the Hockey Writers. I am also the site’s Credentials Manager. Please take note of the updated Twitter handle: @mark_scheig.