Dallas Stars fans know a great deal about Miro Heiskanen’s value to a team that plans to win it all. And ever since the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs, the rest of the NHL has been forced to reckon with the force of nature he has become in two short years with the big team.
With the last year of his entry-level contract approaching, it’s no secret that Miro is going to get paid. That, like Heiskanen himself, is as inevitable as the tide. The big questions remaining are a) how much, and b) what percentage of the cap space his new salary will represent.
And it’s also a question of how, and how soon, Heiskanen’s new deal will affect what the Stars have available to shore up the rest of their squad. The Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks took a look at some of the signal deals for RFA defenders, from Matt Dumba to Thomas Chabot, over the past five years:
While Heiskanen posted 35 points last year, he also carries more of a load defensively against the other team’s best players and is one of the Stars’ top penalty-killers. Add in his postseason performance as the Stars reached the Stanley Cup Final — 26 points in 27 games as a bona fide Conn Smythe candidate — and Heiskanen’s value is likely higher than Chabot’s $8 million AAV.
In the last 10 years, only one RFA defenseman has signed a contract with an AAV higher than $8 million: P.K. Subban’s eight-year contract with Montreal that paid him $9 million annually but was also signed when he was 25 years old.
Of course, re-signing Heiskanen for what the market could surely demand opens up the Stars to a kind of money trouble they habitually take pains to avoid. There are other pathways, but they have dangers of their own:
Should the Stars and Heiskanen opt for a less lucrative (since it’s shorter) bridge deal, Heiskanen has four more years under team control before he would hit unrestricted free agency. Such a deal could give Dallas more flexibility to re-sign John Klingberg after Joe Pavelski and Alexander Radulov come off the books. But it would also walk Heiskanen to the open market, something the Stars should try to avoid given the possibility Heiskanen becomes the best defenseman in the world.
As it stands right now, the Stars have $23.3 million in cap space for the 2021-22 season, according to Cap Friendly. If we estimate Hintz signs for an AAV of $3 million and ballpark Heiskanen at $8.5 million, that leaves Dallas with $11.8 million in space with only seven forwards, four defensemen and two goaltenders under contract.
Matt has more. [SportsDayDFW]
It’s the end of an era: Martin Hanzal has officially retired.
Congratulations to Martin Hanzal, who has closed the chapter on his NHL career following 127 goals and 338 points over 673 NHL games! pic.twitter.com/hjEjGuTgc6— NHLPA (@NHLPA) October 26, 2020
Around The Leagues
Here’s some good news for a truly good guy, and for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and for the league in general. Longtime Star Trevor Daley is now one of the Hockey Men.
Jarome Iginla, who never played for the Stars, nevertheless gets the best-Stars-pick-ever spot in Sean McIndoe’s “ultimate draft” thought experiment.
While we wait to find out how the NHL plans to pull off a 2021 season, some of the league’s top prospects are honing their chops in the European leagues.
From weird bacon to a lack of Ranch dressing, prospects Akil Thomas and Ryan McLeod are having quite the adventure as Canadian prospects playing over in Europe right now. @THNRyanKennedy has more https://t.co/5tsYVQeDrX— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) October 27, 2020
If you think dealing with COVID-19 is tough for the NHL, imagine how tough it is for junior leagues...even in Canada, where the virus is better managed. CBC Sports investigates.
The three CHL leagues (and the world juniors) face huge obstacles— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) October 27, 2020
Here's what you need to know: https://t.co/0MkLOv4oKB
Meanwhile, here’s how the Seattle Kraken are building one of the most fearsome #fancystats teams in the league – or any league, for that matter.
Mitchell Miller says he’s grown up a lot since eighth grade, but his victim’s family say he’s never actually apologized. Did the Arizona Coyotes make a mistake? Or can they trust him?
The @ArizonaCoyotes last month boasted about having its CEO selected to be on a @NHL committee to stop racism....it then used its first draft pick on Mitchell Miller, convicted of bullying a Black classmate with disabilities. https://t.co/sS36YOGfMr— Craig Harris (@charrisazrep) October 26, 2020
Sounds about right. Enjoy.