The Dallas Stars completed their season sweep of the Colorado Avalanche last night, and as with every Stars-Avalanche game so far this season, comparisons between Miro Heiskanen and Cale Makar were a focal point.
The two defenseman were selected back to back in the 2017 NHL Draft, forever intertwining their fate. But what if the Stars had passed up on the Finnish superstar in favor of the Canadian Makar? For starters, they probably wouldn’t have made the playoffs last year, assuming Makar would still be playing in the NCAA:
The 2018-19 Dallas Stars were crunched hard by injuries on the blue line and used 15 defensemen that season. There are players on the Stars’ AHL affiliate getting scratched right now on defense who played NHL games during that campaign.
Now take that situation and remove Heiskanen and the 23:07 he averaged per game in a season where he played all 82 games... If Makar had been the pick, he couldn’t have been around to save the season.
As for Heiskanen, he would have certainly been picked up by the Avalanche at 4th overall, and he’d probably be doing the same things there as he does here in Dallas: playing lots of minutes in all situations
The 20-year-old Heiskanen is a first-pairing option who easily consumes minutes. He averaged more than 23 minutes as a rookie and currently stands at 24:28 in ice time this season.
That would make him the Avalanche’s leader in average ice time … by nearly three minutes.
You can read more about his hypothetical, alternate history over at The Athletic.
Miss last night’s win? Here are some highlights for you:
The Stars pulled off their league-leading 8th comeback of the season when trailing after two periods! You don't want to miss these highlights from last night in Colorado. #DALvsCOL | #GoStars pic.twitter.com/0TOQymUDqg— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) January 15, 2020
Here is Rick Bowness with his post-game comments:
Rick Bowness: "Give Jamie Benn a ton of credit. He got in a fight to get the emotional level back up because the third (period) wasn't where we needed to be... He gives this team huge emotional lifts." #DALvsCOL | #GoStars pic.twitter.com/5fcMzvRrUy— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) January 15, 2020
Here’s Esa Lindell — who scored the game-winner in overtime — on the game’s atmosphere:
Of course, it would have never gone to overtime if it weren’t for the NHL’s best goaltender, Ben Bishop:
Plenty of the Stars’ division rivals took the ice last night as well:
- The Minnesota Wild were crushed 7-3 by the Pittsburgh Penguins in Sidney Crosby’s first game back from injury. [Pensburgh]
- Meanwhile the Chicago Blackhawks managed to squeak by the Ottawa Senators, winning 3-2 in overtime. [Second City Hockey]
- The Winnipeg Jets are now tied with the Vancouver Canucks for the first wild card after shutting them out 4-0. [Arctic Ice Hockey]
- Finally, the Nashville Predators fell short against the Edmonton Oilers in a 4-2 loss. [Copper and Blue]
At least Filip Forsberg became the second NHLer to pull off the lacrosse goal?
The Michigan. Lacrosse goal.— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) January 15, 2020
Whatever you wanna call it, Forsberg scored it! pic.twitter.com/PUXppZfNEU
What’s what? You want to hear more about Cale Makar? Uhh, okay, if you say so...
I profiled the Colorado Avalanche’s very talented (and very wholesome) rookie, Cale Makar https://t.co/BbAZlwJtee— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) January 14, 2020
Nicklas Backstrom isn’t going anywhere — the Washington Capitals re-signed the veteran center to a 5x$9.2M extension:
Both Thomas Harley and Jason Robertson have gone up in Corey Pronman’s top prospect rankings:
The New York Rangers probably won’t make the playoffs, but if they do it’ll be because Artemi Panarin drags them there:
Finally, is Jamie Benn’s contract bad? Down Goes Brown puts it under the microscope alongside other top dollar contracts: