The Dallas Stars played the New Jersey Devils on January 2nd, hanging on for a 5-4 win in regulation on home ice. It was also the same day Dallas Stars rookie blueliner Miro Heiskanen was announced as the team’s representative at the NHL All-Star Game. So, as you do when you have head coach Jim Montgomery assembled in front of the local media in post-game, I asked the rookie coach if he would put Heiskanen in the fastest skater competition.
He kind of chuckled, and said, “I’d put my money on him too.”
From the day that the Stars opened training camp in Boise, Montgomery has praised Heiskanen’s ability to skate out of trouble (though he doesn’t get into trouble that often for a rookie), often commenting on how fast he is. After his first day of training camp, he was asked about his first impression of Heiskanen, and he didn’t mince words. “Oh shit, he’s fast.”
That sentiment hasn’t changed between now and then, obviously.
Heiskanen is, indeed, going to be put into the fastest skater in tonight’s All-Star Skills Competition. He’ll be up against some stiff competition:
Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers) - has won the fastest skater competition before
Elias Pettersson (Vancouver Canucks) - fellow teenage rookie at the All-Star game
Kendall Coyne (U.S. Women’s National Team) - fastest CWHL player
Cam Atkinson (Columbus Blue Jackets)
Mathew Barzal (New York Islanders)
Jack Eichel (Buffalo Sabres)
Clayton Keller (Arizona Coyotes)
The other skill competitions tonight include five other categories, with participants in each being found here:
Save Streak (Heiskanen will compete in this one as a shooter for the Central Division)
The Skills Competition, being played at SAP Center in San Jose, will kick-off tonight at 8 PM CST on NBCSN here in the US.