Dallas Stars Miro Heiskanen Shining Bright

Miro Heiskanen

Dallas Stars rookie defenseman Miro Heiskanen has been exceeding the expectations set for him this season. The 19-year-old Finnish blueliner was drafted third overall by the Dallas Stars at the 2017 National Hockey League Entry Draft. In 32 games played, Heiskanen has tallied seven goals and ten assists for a total of 17 points. He has shown excellent sense and awareness as well as the ability to be able to play a 200-foot game.

Miro Heiskanen Shining Bright for the Dallas Stars

Ever since top Stars defenseman John Klingberg went down with an upper-body injury in early November, Stars head coach Jim Montgomery has looked at the young rookie Heiskanen to fill in for Klingberg. Since the injury, Heiskanen has averaged around 23 minutes of ice time per game, and has stepped up big time for the Stars defensive corps. Since 2006, there have only been a handful of NHL defensemen who have averaged that kind of ice time; the list includes names such as Duncan Keith, Drew Doughty, and Tyler Myers. When asked by ESPN hockey analyst Greg Wyshynski what he felt about the elevated ice time, Heiskanen answered, “No, it wasn’t my first thought but there were injuries, and my game was going well. I expected to play this season, but no, I didn’t expect this many minutes every night.”

The Kid is Setting Records

Heiskanen is only one point off from a franchise record for teenage defenseman. If Heiskanen tallies one more point (which is going to happen very soon probably), he will tie Doug Hicks‘ record from 1974-75. Heiskanen is on pace to score 18 goals and 44 points this year. If Heiskanen stays on top of his game and of course stays healthy, he can easily hit that number. If he breaks 47 points this season, he will set a new franchise record for points by a rookie defenseman (47 is the record set by Brad Maxwell in the late 1970s).

Heiskanen Earning Praise for his Play

Miro Heiskanen has not only been gathering attention from fans around the NHL, but from analysts as well. “He’s 19 years old. That’s what blows me away,” TSN Analyst Craig Button told ESPN. “You know what’s interesting? The term ‘it translates to the NHL.’ What translates for him? His unbelievable hockey sense translates. He understands the game at a different level. It’s like he’s working on his Ph.D.”

Daryl Reaugh, the Stars’ television and radio analyst said, “Miro is so cerebral when reading when to pressure a puck carrier, when to join an attack or when to stay patient, and he’s extremely poised with the puck, especially for 19. He plays with a seemingly effortless celerity and has a sizzling wrist shot that he’s not shy to deploy.”

Heiskanen has been getting a great amount of praise too for his “lethal” shot. His ability to cycle the zone and take shots on net has been working wonders, especially since a large number of them have resulted in score sheet inputs for the young d-man. He has an unreal ability take the puck in stride and release a heated shot right on target.

Heiskanen is a breath of fresh air for the Dallas defensive corps who has struggled in past seasons. The ability to have such a skilled and reliable player in Heiskanen is something the Stars do not take for granted. The coaching staff knows that he is still young, and has plenty to work on as he ages, but it is great to know that he can step as he did for Klingberg and provide an offensive spark as well as solid defensive play for Dallas.

The Dallas Stars are currently in fifth place in the NHL’s Central Division with a record of 16-13-3 (35 points). They are just one point behind the fourth-place Minnesota Wild. The Stars travel to Denver to take on the Colorado Avalanche tonight.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images