The NHL announced the rosters for the 2019 All-Star Game on Wednesday evening. Miro Heiskanen made the cut as the lone Dallas Stars player and will head to San Jose. Not bad for a 19-year-old rookie.
The Dallas Stars have sent a combination of the same three players to each NHL All-Star Game over the past few years.
Since the 2015-16 season when the NHL reformatted the All-Star Game and turned it into a three-on-three competition between the divisions, the Stars have sent the same handful of players. That’s similar to what most NHL teams have done, considering the NHL selects all but one player from each division.
But there’s always time for change, right?
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On Wednesday evening, the NHL announced the rosters for each division ahead of the 2019 NHL All-Star Game. This year’s ASW will be held in San Jose, CA from Jan. 25-26 and will include all of the excitement from the Skills Competition to the game itself.
But this year, it won’t be Benn, Seguin, or Klingberg representing the Stars (though Seguin still technically has a chance). Instead, the Dallas Stars will send 19-year-old Miro Heiskanen to the west coast for the weekend.
Now, that may come with some reservations. You might be wondering why the NHL selected a rookie defenseman to represent the Stars. Wouldn’t it be easier to sell a name like Benn or Seguin to fans thinking about attending? While that may be true, it’s Heiskanen that has earned it.
While Benn and Seguin are below their typical point values at the midway point of the year and Klingberg missed six weeks of action with a broken hand, Heiskanen has played in all 41 games for the Dallas Stars this year. But that’s not even close to the most impressive part.
Heiskanen, in his first season at the NHL level, is already playing like an experienced veteran. Now, he played like this throughout last season over in Finland and performed incredibly with the Stars at the Traverse City Tournament in September, but doing what he’s done at the NHL level is a new animal.
Throughout 41 games this season, Heiskanen has dazzled on the Dallas blue line. He currently sits second in rookie defenseman scoring with nine goals and 19 points on the year. His nine goals put him on top of the rookie defenseman goal standings and ties him for fourth in the league lead among defenders. He is also tied for fifth in rookie scoring overall.
Heiskanen leads all rookies in average time on ice, though, skating 22:58 per game. When Klingberg exited the lineup to recover from his hand injury, Heiskanen was one of the players that had to step up and keep the blue line functioning. He did so and kept the Stars moving forward while also building up his own rookie legacy.
Wednesday night’s game may have been peak Heiskanen, though. For some rookies, being named an All-Star just before a game may cause their ego to inflate, which could lead to a bad performance.
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) January 3, 2019
That wasn’t the case for no. 4. He scored two goals (including the game-winner) in jaw-dropping style, posted nine total shots, blocked three in the defensive end, and posted a +2 rating on the night. His play helped the Dallas Stars fend off the New Jersey Devils in a 5-4 victory and push Dallas back into a top-three spot in the Central division.
It just goes to show that the Miro Effect is real. Heiskanen’s play has been subtle at times and loud at others, but it’s helped the Dallas Stars stay in the fight in the Western Conference. He’s a high-caliber rookie with what looks to be a very promising future.
Isn’t that what you should want in an All-Star, anyways?