With the Third Pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft the Dallas Stars Have Selected Miro Heiskanen From the HIFK in the SM-Liiga.
About Miro Heiskanen
The Dallas Stars put focus on the blue line as they closed out the top three lottery picks with the third overall pick – taking Miro Heiskanen. One of a number of Finnish player in this draft, he’s a player that can play on both sides of the puck and has the ability to be a force in his own end. He’s a puck-moving defenceman with a knack for playing a really physical game when he needs to. And if you ask him, he’s certainly not shy about throwing around his weight.
— NHL (@NHL) June 23, 2017
With HIFK last season he five goals and five assists in 37 games to go along with three assists in eight playoff games for the club. On top of that, he played for Finland at both the U18 and U20 World Junior Championships.
THW Prospect Profile Excerpt:
Miro Heiskanen had a very busy season as a 17-year-old. He was a regular on the HIFK blueline where he registered five goals and five assists in 37 games. The talented youngster also represented Finland at both the U18s and U20s World Junior Championships. He was the best defender for the imploding Finnish squad whose coach was fired in the middle of the tournament. The U18s were a different story where he was a dominate force for Finland en route to a silver medal after falling to Team USA in the championship game. He was named the top defender of the 2017 tournament.
The native of Espoo, Finland is the most complete defenseman available in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. His skating is fluid and quick with easy transitions and he’s heavy on his skates. He has great mobility from the blue line, whether it be carrying the puck out his the defensive zone with his head up looking for a play, or walking the line on the power play trying to find a lane to get the puck on net.
His July birthday means he is among the younger players available but you would not know that based on his mature game where he uses his footwork to keep attacking forwards close and utilizes his stick well to take away space and lanes from attackers. His passes are crisp in all three zones.
In SM-Liiga action, Heiskanen pulled a regular shift in the top Finnish league with HIFK. Against much older competition, he rarely looked out of place. He has no holes in his game and outside of a summer trying to add some muscle has the skill and smarts to play in the NHL in the near future.
There are some questions about his offensive upside at the next level, but nearly all opinions on Heiskanen point to a regular job in the NHL regardless, due to his great wheels and smart decisions with the puck.
How This Affects the Dallas Stars’ Plans
With Julius Honka not developing as quickly as the team would like, Heiskanen gives them another option on the back end moving forward. Heiskanen can fit in nicely with a fast Stars’ club as he his a two-way player and loves to move the puck up the ice fast.
As for where he fits in on the Stars’ depth chart, he’s definitely a top six prospect for the club, but likely won’t see NHL time next season as the Stars will look to develop him into the playing the North American game.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.