The Stars’ season has been off to a rough start. Ups and downs of winning and losing streaks, but in all this dark news; a young beacon of light shines through it all: Miro Heiskanen.
Possibly the best draft pick GM Jim Nill has made in his time, Miro has lit up the ice in his rookie season. Some people are shocked by how well Miro has been performing this season but looking back at his past, no one should be surprised at how amazing this kid is.
Miro Heiskanen, a native of Espoo, Finland, started his pro career playing for HIFK’s junior team at the start of the 2015-2016 season and was named Rookie of the Year after he put of 14 points in 30 games. On May 30th, 2016, Miro signed a 3 year extension and was bumped up to play on HIFK’s pro team and one thing to know about HIFK is that it’s Finland’s top hockey league.
At just 17 years old, Miro debuted in his rookie season during 2016-2017 and collected 5 goals and 5 assists in just 37 games while playing as part of the top defensive pair. Not to mention, when Miro appeared at the IIHF World U18 Championship, Finland won the tournament and he walked away with an award for the Best Defenseman. This was about the time when scouts started to look at Miro as one of the top prospects going into the NHL’s 2017 Entry Draft. Miro was said to be “by far the best European defenseman in the draft,” by Goran Stubb of NHL Central Scouting.
We know how things played out. The Dallas Stars made the smart choice of selecting Miro Heiskanen 3rd overall during the 2017 NHL draft. Miro signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Stars and was loaned back to the HIFK for the 2017-2018 season, where Miro blew everyone out of the water, scoring 11 goals and snagging 12 assists in only 30 games.
Miro was called back to the NHL for this 2018-2019 season. So far in the first 37 games, Miro already has 7 goals and 10 assists. Miro’s style of play is a force to be reckoned with; he carried the puck with the confidence of a 13-year veteran, he’s creative and isn’t afraid to throw his 6’1″ and 185 lbs body at opponents. Miro spends more time on the ice than any other rookie in the league and with good reason, considering that Miro, along with other Dallas defenseman, had quite a bit to make up for during the time John Klingberg was injured. There are parts to his game that are beautiful and well developed but there is still more to learn and who better to teach him than top defenseman such as John Klingberg and Esa Lindell.
From here things can only go up, as long as Miro stays healthy. Where the HIFK’s seasons are only 37 game, the NHL’s are 82 and that’s quite an adjustment to make, but time is on his side. Miro is 19 years old, the youngest on the team, and his youth is a powerful asset. Miro is on fire so far in his rookie season and he’s been an influential player for the Stars’ wounded defense. With the team struggling as they have been, it’s good to see Miro’s enthusiasm and confidence has never wavered. The next upcoming games are going to be an important stint and this kid will be an essential part if the Stars are looking to bring back glory.
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