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Dallas Stars Prospect Update: Heiskanen Named Liiga’s Top Defenseman, Continuing Season At World Championship

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Elsewhere: Texas Stars even playoff series, John Nyberg makes AHL debut.

Latvia v Finland - 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

It’s no Norris Trophy, but hey, that will just have to wait a few years.

Early Wednesday it was announced that Dallas Stars prospect Miro Heiskanen had been awarded the Pekka Rautakallio Award as the best defenseman in the Liiga, Finland’s top professional league. At just 18 years of age, Heiskanen is the youngest player to ever receive the honor.

The Stars’ third overall selection in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft played 30 regular season games for HIFK, and picked up 23 points. He also produced nine points in 14 playoff games as HIFK came within one win of advancing to the league’s finals.

More impressive, though, was how the teenage Heiskanen led the entire league in ice time, at 25:06 per game, a full 16 seconds ahead of the next closest player.

Fellow Stars defender Esa Lindell was another recent winner of the award, picking it up after the 2014-2015 season.

Heiskanen has probably had little time to celebrate the distinction, however, as he is currently in Denmark playing for the Finnish entry at the IIHF World Championship. Playing on their top defensive pairing, the Finns have won both of their games so far.

Playing in this tournament at all also puts him into some rare company:

It won’t be long until Heiskanen will be wearing Victory Green. Get excited, Stars fans.

AHL

The Texas Stars opened the second round of this year’s AHL playoffs with a split pair of games against the Tucson Roadrunners.

They dropped a 2-1 overtime loss to Tucson on Wednesday night before rebounding with a 4-1 victory on Friday. The series has mostly been a goaltending duel thus far between veteran Mike McKenna and the 21-year-old Adin Hill.

None of the Dallas Stars prospects factored into the scoring in the first game, but a few did in Game 2, as Remi Elie, Jason Dickinson and Gavin Bayreuther all recorded assists.

Swedish defenseman John Nyberg made his North American debut on Friday, drawing into the Texas lineup and not looking out of place.

Game 3 comes tonight in Cedar Park as the series shifts back to Texas for the first time.

North American Juniors

OHL

Nick Caamano and the Hamilton Bulldogs currently find themselves tied 1-1 in their OHL final series against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. After starting the playoffs on a 12-game point-scoring streak Caamano has cooled off a bit recently, only picking up one assist in his past five games. Game 3 comes tonight in Hamilton.

WHL

Ondrej Vala and the Everett Silvertips also find themselves knotted up 1-1 in their championship series against the Swift Current Broncos. Vala has factored into the scoring in the two games so far, picking up three assists, one of which came as the primary helper on the game-winning goal in Game 1.

Vala has 10 points in 18 games this postseason, all of which have come at even strength.

Game 3 of this series is on Tuesday night.