Dallas Stars News: Miro Heiskanen To Olympics, Jason Dickinson Starting

DALLAS, TX - JANUARY 4: Jason Dickinson
DALLAS, TX - JANUARY 4: Jason Dickinson /

There’s a lot going on around the Dallas Stars organization right now. Here’s a quick summary to help catch you up on all of the happenings.

It’s a busy week in January for the Dallas Stars.

With the Olympics right around the corner and a few injuries popping up recently in the lineup, there is plenty to catch up on as the Stars start up their three-game homestand.

And before they drop the puck against the Florida Panthers tonight, it might be a good idea to know all of this information. So in case you have missed one story or the other, here is all the latest on the Dallas Stars hockey club.

Miro Heiskanen heading to the Olympics

The Winter Olympics are going to be incredibly different this year.

Dallas Stars
Dallas Stars /

Dallas Stars

After getting used to the idea of NHL players playing for their home countries every four years, there will be a significant change of pace for the 2018 hockey portion of the Olympics. The NHL decided to not give NHL players permission to participate in this year’s Olympics over the summer, leaving many players and fans disappointed.

With the decision being final and a full slate of games in February, there was really no reason to argue or plea. The NHL will continue functioning throughout the second month of the year.

But that isn’t stopping the Olympics from happening, nor is it stopping the hockey portion from being played. Without NHL athletes, the participating countries have been forced to look to outsides sources.

And in Finland, it looks like they will be going with a fair amount of prospects. One of those players is Dallas Stars prospect defenseman Miro Heiskanen.

Heiskanen was considered the top defenseman in the 2017 NHL Draft, and that led to Dallas using the third overall pick on him. He’s spent the 2017-18 season playing for HIFK Helsinki, one of the top hockey leagues in Finland. Heiskanen already has nine goals and 14 points in 20 games this season and is living up to his expectations.

The Stars drafted him in hopes that he would make an impact at the NHL level within two or three seasons, and he is definitely on pace to hit that mark at the moment.

And now he’ll get a chance to showcase his talents on a national level and take a shot at a gold medal. Considering he isn’t even 19 years old, that’s pretty impressive.

All in all, this just gives Dallas Stars fans another reason to watch the Olympics besides the excitement and country pride.

Hanzal limping along with injuries

It’s been a terrible year for Martin Hanzal when it comes to injuries. He’s only played in 33 of the 48 games (69 percent) for Dallas this season and dealt with multiple injuries during the other 15. Whether it’s dealt with his lower body, his hamstring, or his hand, he seems to be plagued by the injury bug.

And now, he’s back on the sideline on a day-to-day basis with a lower body injury. It’s unsure of when he will be back in the lineup, but it may not end up being until after the All-Star Break just for safety’s sake.

There is a new report out that Hanzal may not be able to play at a fully healthy level for the rest of the season. That could end up further complicating the Dallas Stars offense, but they have done a good job at managing the situation so far this year.

Hanzal is a solid asset when in the lineup and plays in a lot of different roles, but it’s tough to see him continually in the press box. We’ll have to wait and see how it develops.

Jason Dickinson recalled

In response to the Hanzal injury, the Stars recalled Jason Dickinson once again to give Dallas 13 forwards to choose from.

And it looks like Hitchcock will want an immediate impact from no. 16 considering Dickinson is expected to be in the lineup tonight against Florida.

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“We like [Dickinson] a lot,” Hitchcock said about Dickinson back in early January. “We haven’t been able to create any room for him, but we like him a lot. He’s exactly what we need. He’s got size, speed, and he’s on top of you quickly. We like what he brings to the table. I think where we have not been fair to him is he’s played center all year [in the AHL], and then he comes up here and plays wing all the time.”

Dickinson is expected to center the fourth line tonight against the Panthers, so it will be interesting to see how he responds. He has yet to tally a point this season and sits at a -2 rating, but he brings a lot of assets and skill to the table. We’ll see how he does between Devin Shore and Brett Ritchie.

In other lineup news: defenseman Dillon Heatherington will play in his third straight game for Dallas tonight and looks to have earned a spot with his physical and gritty play. Keep your eyes on no. 48 on the blue line.

Ben Bishop starting

After Ben Bishop and Kari Lehtonen split duties during the four-game road trip last week, it looks like Ken Hitchcock will go with Big Ben to start the three-game homestand.

Though Lehtonen had an excellent showing on the road trip, Bishop is rolling with an impressive stretch on home ice this season. He is 20-12-3 overall on the season, but is an impressive 15-5-1 on home ice. He owns a .931 save percentage and 2.01 goals against average, both of which are fantastic numbers.

Don’t be surprised if Bishop starts all three games during the homestand (barring any catastrophic results) simply because of his reputation at the AAC. And when they hit the road, don’t be surprised if Lehtonen gets the nod on a regular basis. It’s how things seem to be trending right now, but anything can happen with Ken Hitchcock behind the bench.

Stars visit Children’s Health

The Dallas Stars made their annual trip to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas on Monday afternoon. It’s a yearly occurrence that gives Stars players the chance to go and hang out with the children at the hospital.

There’s only so much that we can write about this, but seeing it in action is an entirely more descriptive experience. So check this video out from the Dallas Stars’ Twitter page about the visit.

The video pretty much sums it up, but it’s always nice and encouraging to see the Stars giving back to the community.

That’s the latest for the Dallas Stars organization. Keep an eye out for anything else that may come along in the near future and make sure to tune in to Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 tonight as the Dallas Stars take on the Florida Panthers from the American Airlines Center.

Next: Yes, John Klingberg Is Near Front Of Norris Trophy Race

It promises to be a good one.