Dallas Stars Daily Links: Miro Heiskanen And The Road To The Norris Trophy

Saad Yousuf says it’s not a matter of if, but when – and posts a persuasive presentation to prove it. Plus, Thursday practice updates, Ben Bishop’s dad move, and more.

Happy Dallas Stars game day! The new season brings so much to look forward to, not the least of which is a daily dose of Miro Heiskanen highlights.

But as nice as it is to glory in Heiskanen’s Stars status, many fans would prefer it if their 21-year-old blueline phenom got more love from the NHL’s arbiters of quality. Could that wider recognition come this season?

Saad Yousuf has posted the second installment of a two-part series examining how Miro proceeds to the next level for an elite defender – the Norris Trophy:

Through two seasons, Heiskanen’s game has been as consistent as his words. He arrived in the league as a 19-year-old phenom in 2018 and now enters his third NHL season as a 21-year-old superstar. While the numbers alone don’t tell the whole story, he’s scored 68 points in 150 games to go along with his defensive play, all before he was old enough to buy an alcoholic beverage in the United States. Of course, there is also the record-breaking 2020 playoff run, in which his measured defense and electric offense were simultaneously on display. His 26 points scored in 27 games were the most by a defenseman in the 21st century and fourth-most all-time behind Hall of Famers and Norris Trophy winners Paul Coffey, Brian Leetch and Al MacInnis.

That’s the kind of company Heiskanen is keeping nowadays. Now, the question is when he’ll formally ascend to the apex of his position. He made his first little dent in the Norris Trophy voting ballots last season before exploding in the playoffs on the biggest stage. According to BetOnline, Heiskanen entered the 2021 season with 12-to-1 odds to win the Norris Trophy, tied for fifth-best in the NHL. And he’s not shy about saying he’d like to win it.

Yousuf runs down the factors Heiskanen will need to maximize to get there – from point production (trending in the right direction, but not quite there) to visibility (how many reporters told Rick Bowness they should have voted for Heiskanen in the 2019 Calder Trophy race, and will they go on the record?). But former Norris winners, and indeed his current teammates, believe it’s only a matter of time:

“He’s just such a fluid skater and he makes plays that go under the radar, too,” says Jamie Oleksiak, Heiskanen’s defensive partner. “He doesn’t have to make that flashy play to be effective in the game. He’s got a great stick, (and) he makes great reads in the defensive zone. It can’t be said enough just how cool and calm he is and how easy he makes things look. You look at a lot of Norris guys, and I think that’s a big thing you notice with a lot of them.”...

Heiskanen was doing those things as a 19-year-old rookie. For a deeper look, you can read Sean Shapiro’s film room piece from early in Heiskanen’s rookie season. We’ve seen this become a consistent part of his game over the past two seasons in addition to the more obvious highlights of goals and assists.

There’s much more, including video, behind the paywall. [The Athletic DFW]

Stars Stuff

Going to the game? Make sure you’re ready.

The Stars’ season starts tonight, and they are probably even more stoked than you are.

Owen Newkirk posted a few updates from Thursday practice.

Around The Leagues

#Murder Was The Case

  • Brayden Point came in with the overtime game-winner as the Tampa Bay Lightning pulled out a close one against the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-2. [Raw Charge]
  • And, just as a reminder, the Carolina Hurricanes – Florida Panthers game previously scheduled for last night was postponed for public health reasons. [TSN]/

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Two grieving men, both broken by the Humboldt Broncos tragedy, found a moment of catharsis together.


Watch this total dad move by Ben Bishop and reflect upon his teammates’ responses. Enjoy.