There isn’t all that much that hasn’t been said about Miro Heiskanen by both Stars fans and local media (although the national media is a different story). Sunday’s game against the Predators saw him skate a truly herculean 32.30, a whole 7 minutes longer than the next player (Esa Lindell). More than half of that extra 7 minutes was power-play time. He also skated very nearly half of the 5 minute overtime period. John Klingberg was out of the line-up for a happy reason – the birth of his first child, which meant that Miro ate tremendous minutes. Player tracking showed him skating almost 5 miles over the course of the game. While Miro has been having a down year offensively, like the rest of the team, he’s starting to heat up offensively with 4 points in the last three games. 

Something that doesn’t get discussed often enough among all the other superlatives thrown at Miro Heiskanen is that despite playing a huge number of minutes, leading the Stars in ice time, he has taken only 1 minor penalty in 20 games. Among all NHL defensemen, Miro ranks 19th in ice-time and plays among the toughest minutes of all Stars players. Only Alex Pietrangelo for the Vegas Golden Knights has played more minutes and taken the same or fewer penalties than the young Stars defensemen.  Heiskanen has one of the very best sticks amongst NHL defensemen, and that combined with his superlative skating means he rarely needs to play the body of a player. One of his more memorable plays recently was this spectacular disruption of a break-away that set Joe Pavelski up for a last-second game-tying goal.


There are worse comparables for the young Stars defensemen than the former Blues Captain. Pietrangelo signed a 7-year $8.8 million contract with the Golden Knights in the off-season after being unable to reach an agreement with the Blues. Pietrangelo has a slight offensive upside compared to Miro, but Miro is almost a decade younger than the player who, for several years, has been rated one of the premier defensemen in the NHL. Don’t be surprised if the Stars feel like they’ve got a bargain in the off-season if they manage to sign Heiskanen for anything less, there are NHL defensemen on significantly larger contracts who can’t hold a candle to either Pietrangelo or the young Finn. 

It’s almost certain, that regardless of where the Stars finish this year, Heiskanen will receive more Norris votes than he did last year when he finished 12th. The Stars run to the Cup fixed more eyes than ever before on the Finnish Wunderkind. Heiskanen should make a decent jump in the Lady Byng voting too, there are very few defensemen who come close to playing as cleanly as he somehow manages to do. A restricted free agent in the off-season, the Stars will be expecting to spend a significant chunk of change re-signing the 21-year-old star. It may take Cogliano and Comeau coming off the books and a chunk of change from whoever they lose in the expansion draft to get the job done.

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