The latest in our profiles of top prospects for the 2017 NHL Draft looks at Miro Heiskanen, considered by many to be the top defenseman in this year's draft. Projected as a second-round pick in the fall, Heiskanen shot up the draft rankings over the course of the 2016-17 season. The slick skating Heiskanen, who played in Finland's top league this past season and was teammates with Stars prospect Roope Hintz, is a "complete defender that can play and excel in every situation," according to International Scouting Services. There's a good chance Heiskanen will be available to the Stars if they choose to hang onto that third overall selection in the draft.
Height/Weight: 6-1/173 pounds
Born: July 18, 1999
Birthplace: Espoo, Finland
2016-17 Team: HIFK (Finland Liiga)
NHL Central Scouting: 4th among European Skaters
International Scouting Services: 4th among all skaters
TSN: 4th among all players
The Hockey News: 6th among all players
Red Line Report: 12th among all players
ESPN: 8th among all skaters
Video: The top ranked defenseman shares his experience
Heiskanen played 37 games with HIFK in Finland's top league, recording ten points (five goals, five assists) and averaging 18:59 of ice time. Among regular players for HIFK, he ranked second on the team in Corsi rating at 52.9 percent. He registered three assists in eight playoff games. Heiskanen helped Finland earn a silver medal at the 2017 Under-18 World Championship. He ranked second among all players and was top among defensemen in scoring at the tournament with 12 points (two goals, ten assists), and he was named the tournament's best defenseman. He also played for Finland at 2017 World Junior Championship, recording one assist in six games.
Heiskanen played in Finnish juniors in 2015-16, recording 14 points (three goals, eleven assists) in 30 games with HIFK in the top junior league. He was named Jr. A SM-Liiga Rookie of the Year. He played at the 2016 Under-18 World Championship, tallying one assist in seven games as Finland won the gold medal. Heiskanen also tallied four assists in five games for Finland at the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
"Go-to guy on the back end. Rising up the rankings - has added size since start of the season. Mobile with good vision and rarely panics or turns the puck over. Always under control and made very few mistakes. He has all the tools to be an effective two-way defender in the NHL." - International Scouting Services (isshockey.com)
"So smooth. Has ability as a two-way defender and to play under duress. The game is only getting faster, and he's smart enough to keep the flow going." - NHL Scout (The Hockey News Future Watch 2017)
"His hockey sense is so good that he dictates the play due to how effectively he moves the puck. He makes great decisions, understands how to create chances while keeping his plays simple, and overall shows no issues playing at a pro pace. His mobility is pretty good, too, as he can get up into the rush well and close his gaps efficiently." - Corey Pronman, ESPN (ESPN.com)
This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.