Let’s get this out of the way first: A “down year” for Miro Heiskanen is a matter of perspective.
As one of the Dallas Stars’ staunchest defenders, he was on the ice for more minutes per game – nearly 25 – than any other player. As an already condensed schedule became actively punishing, he still maintained what would have been a 40-point pace in a normal 82-game season.
But the expectations for Heiskanen are already sky-high, and his upcoming contract negotiations will reflect that. Miro himself is still taking in what that will mean, as The Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks reports:
“I think [my season] went pretty well,” Heiskanen said. “Of course, can always be better, but I’m really happy how I played defensively. Of course, offensively, want to create more and be more effective. I think the overall game was really good. Of course, want to create more offensively.”...
“We had lots of games and I was focusing on them,” Heiskanen said. “I haven’t think about a lot of my contract, but I have time to think about it now. We’ll see. We’ll see what happens.”
DeFranks took a long look at Heiskanen’s numbers – and the Stars’ cap situation. The result is a new piece on why a bridge deal could be the best thing for everyone:
For the Stars, bridge deals are cheaper since they do not buy out the lucrative years of unrestricted free agency. That would allow them some flexibility in the near term as they try to re-sign Jamie Oleksiak, John Klingberg and ready themselves for the next extensions for Roope Hintz and Denis Gurianov. A three-year term would also make Heiskanen an RFA at the end of the deal instead of walking him directly to UFA.
For Heiskanen, a three-year deal would give him time to boost his offensive numbers and cash in on his third contract. It would also mean the Stars would only have one more season of Jamie Benn’s contract on the books, and would likely be signed when the salary cap is going up again. Currently, because of the financial hit of the pandemic, the salary cap is stagnant.
Matt has more. [SportsDayDFW]
The Stars have a lot of thinking to do about their UFA contracts, too.
Around The Leagues
Leon Draisaitl hit an interesting milestone in April, and Patrick Kane is among those who could be next in line.
Leon Draisaitl became the highest-scoring in #NHL history last month when he scored his 488th point.— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) May 13, 2021
This triumvirate of NHLers have a shot at accomplishing the same feat for their own nations. @Nick_Emanuelli evaluates their chances: https://t.co/Ey1sXCVPUU
Don’t look now, but the NHL’s push to enter the bookmaking sector could end up biting them in an undisclosed area.
The NHL’s comical use of upper-body or lower-body injuries is a fairly recent phenomenon.— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) May 12, 2021
It likely won’t fly with sports bettors.@eduhatschek & @reallisa examine how the NHL’s foray into sports betting may finally mean more specific injury disclosure.https://t.co/cLxYxQUtui
It’s been 10 years since Derek Boogaard’s death, and his family doesn’t want him – or his struggle with brain injury – to be forgotten. [The Athletic]
Ten years ago today, Derek Boogaard was found dead by his two brothers. Each year on at this time, his mother writes a letter to him and places it in the local paper.— John Branch (@JohnBranchNYT) May 13, 2021
This is today. pic.twitter.com/dj2R1QiOAs
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
So why were the Texas Stars trying to win 1-0? Are they working the big team’s side of the street now?
But you’re still ready to start the weekend with more hockey. Of course you are.
Beloved former T-Star Derek Hulak is in the news, and behind the bench, at his alma mater.
Excited to welcome @dhulak89 back to Saskatoon as an assistant coach. One of the best in program history will join our staff behind the bench after 8 seasons as a pro!#HuskiePride pic.twitter.com/P4XeoqOnEu— USask Huskie Men's Hockey (@HuskiesMHKY) May 13, 2021
All the best should go out to Jason Robertson 100 percent of the time, but 110 percent of the time during API Heritage Month. Enjoy.