The Dallas Stars have the third overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft and it’s one of the most intriguing spots in the draft.
Brandon Wheat Kings center Nolan Patrick and Halifax Moosheads center Nico Hischier are considered the top prospects in this draft class. There is some debate whether Patrick or Hischier will go first overall, but there seems to be a consensus opinion that neither will make it past the second pick.
That means the Stars could go in any direction at No. 3 and it’s not a bad spot. While this draft is considered weaker than past years, Dallas will still get a very good prospect at No. 3 and a player that should make an impact in the NHL.
Since the NHL Draft Lottery I’ve taken time to watch video and spoken with others that have watched these draft prospects closely to create my own scouting reports for 12 players that Dallas could consider at No. 3.
Today we are looking at Miro Heiskanen. You can follow these links for past scouting reports on Casey Mittelstadt, Gabriel Vilardi, Michael Rasmussen, Cody Glass, Owen Tippett, Eeli Tolvanen, and Klim Kostin, Elias Pattersson, Lias Andersson.
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6-foot, 174 pounds
Miro Heiskanen is the top defenseman in the draft and was one of the big risers on draft boards over the course of the season.
The 17-year-old was a possession-driving defender for HIFK in Liiga, Finland’s top-league, and never looked out of place against older and more seasoned competition.
And Heiskanen has the complete skillset to be a top-pairing NHL defenseman as he progresses.
He’s a smooth skater who is both technically sound and has natural athletic ability. He moves the puck well and rarely panics, which tends to create better situations for his teammates. Heiskanen often makes the right decision when exiting the defensive zone, either making the lead pass or carrying the puck when given the space to use his skating ability.
Offensively he can be a quarterback in the offensive zone and does a good job of getting his shot through at the blue line.
He’s not the biggest player at 6-foot (184 CM) and 174 pounds (79 KG), but he’s not afraid to play physically. Defensively Heiskanen reads the play well and keeps opposing forwards to the outside in Liiga, he has a quick stick and does a good job breaking up passes or cutting off lanes to the net.
The most intriguing part about Heiskanen is his age. He has a July birthday and is one of the youngest players in the draft, but played in one of the most difficult leagues in the world and thrived.
The 17-year-old Finn is the fourth-ranked European skater by NHL Central Scouting, but is by far the top-ranked defender in the draft. His time in Liiga is impressive, and his work in under-18 and under-20 world competition proved he’s one of the top players amongst his peer group.
Heiskanen is going to spend at least a couple seasons in Finland and defensemen do take a bit longer to develop, but the Finn is well worth the No. 3 pick.