As you all know by now, the Dallas Stars have locked up star defenseman Miro Heiskanen for the next eight years at $8.45M AAV. Only five defenseman carry a larger cap hit, and the top four have each won a Norris Trophy.
But if you ask those defensemen, they’ll probably agree that Heiskanen is on the track to win it himself one day:
“I think for his age, how he uses his body and how he positions himself in the defensive zone, the way he moves on the blue line offensively, there’s no question that he’s on the path to being a Norris Trophy winner,” P.K. Subban, the 2013 Norris winner
Not even in his prime, Heiskanen should keep getting better and better. But in order to truly become a top, Norris-winning defenseman, he’ll also need help from his team and coaching staff to put him in the best position to succeed:
Heiskanen is a unique talent, so pigeonholing him into a pre-determined system is counterproductive... there can be adjustments made to bring the best out of the Stars’ best players.
He will surely do his part to exceed the heightened expectations. The Stars need to ensure they do their part in using his as a weapon instead of a crutch.
You can read more from Saad Yousuf here.
Heiskanen’s camp said that he wanted an eight-year deal because he wanted to stay in Dallas. Namely, he’s a fan of the local cuisine:
Spoiler Alert: If you want tonight’s NHL Expansion Draft selections to be a surprise, you should stop reading now. And probably log off social media too. Actually, just go ahead and bury your head in the sand until 7:00 PM CT.
If you want all the juicy gossip, however, then it appears that the Seattle Kraken have found their pick from the Dallas Stars:
Early word is #SeaKraken are closing in on contracts with two UFA defensemen: Adam Larsson (EDM) and Jamie Oleksiak (DAL).— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 21, 2021
Not finalized. But barring any last minute change, the expectation is those players will be the selections from #Oilers and #GoStars.@DFOHockey
Around the League
To add further credence to the above, multiple sources are now reporting that Adam Larsson is indeed signing 4x$4M with the Kraken:
Meanwhile another of the Edmonton Oilers’ exposed UFAs, Mike Smith, will be returning:
Hearing Mike Smith is returning on a multi year deal to the Oilers— Patrick Johnston (@risingaction) July 21, 2021
Same for Taylor Hall and the Boston Bruins:
Hearing #NHLBruins have made meaningful progress with pending UFA Taylor Hall.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 21, 2021
Expectation is Hall will indeed remain in Boston after the signing moratorium is lifted. Wouldn't be surprised to see a deal in the 4 years x $6 million neighborhood.
Stay tuned. @DFOHockey
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is also staying put:
As is St. Louis Blues forward Vladamir Tarasenko:
Jarde McCann, meanwhile, is going to Seattle. Look, I said to stop reading if you didn’t want spoilers:
His stay was short-lived in Toronto. The #SeaKraken will be selecting Jared McCann from the #Leafs.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 21, 2021
The end result: Toronto traded prospect Filip Hallander and a 7th round pick to Pittsburgh to essentially protect their roster from Seattle.@DFOHockey
One thing is for certain today: the Seattle war room has been buzzing:
What's going on in the Kraken's war room? What are their goaltending options? Will they make any big trades? @eduhatschek returns to ponder tonight's NHL expansion draft and deconstruct our final Seattle mock draft ⤵️https://t.co/fdv4RYTCcs— The Athletic NHL (@TheAthleticNHL) July 21, 2021
Moving on from expansion, the regular season schedule for the 2021-22 season drops tomorrow, and there’s at least a planned pause for the Olympics:
As I reported yesterday, the 2021-22 NHL schedule that will be released Thursday has a Winter Olympic break in it, even though there isn't a Winter Olympic deal yet with the NHL, NHLPA, IIHF and IOC. https://t.co/kci5FIuwuu— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) July 20, 2021
Draft Prospect Logan Mailloux recently asked teams to not select him in the upcoming NHL Draft due to a past criminal conviction involving distributing explicit photos of a woman:
London Knights defenceman Logan Mailloux has withdrawn from the 2021 NHL Draft.https://t.co/UMDKph8SAN— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) July 20, 2021
The victim in the matter opens up: