Miro Heiskanen signed a $67.6 million, eight-year contract with the Dallas Stars on Saturday, a monster deal that puts him among the highest-paid defensemen in the NHL.
The Stars also traded forward Jason Dickinson to Vancouver for a 2021 third-round pick before rosters had to be set for the Seattle expansion draft. The move was designed to keep the club from losing the 26-year-old to the Kraken for nothing.
Heiskanen will count $8.45 million against the salary cap through 2028-29. Only five defensemen currently count more against the cap than that next season. The deal came a day before Heiskanen’s 22nd birthday.
The native of Finland had 27 points last season and ranked ninth in the league in ice time at just under 25 minutes a game. Heiskanen has 28 goals and 67 assists for 95 points in 205 regular-season games. He also has 30 points in 40 playoff games with Dallas, including a trip to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final in the bubble.
“Since joining us, it has been clear that Miro is part of a collection of young, rising stars that are now playing in the National Hockey League,” general manager Jim Nill said in a statement. “As an organization, we truly feel that Miro has just scratched the surface of his ability and will be in the Norris Trophy discussion for years to come.”
Heiskanen, the third pick in the 2017 draft, was fourth in Calder Trophy voting as rookie of the year his first season and 12th in Norris voting in 2019-20. He became a restricted free agent this summer.
“It feels great to get this done,” Heiskanen said. “Of course there is a lot of work to be done, and we’re very motivated to get back on the ice. It is very exciting to be a part of what Jim and his staff are building, and it’s important to reward them for the trust they’ve shown with this long-term commitment.”
The Stars are betting Heiskanen is worth that commitment.
“We all look forward to watching him as he continues to evolve into one of the elite players of the game,” Nill said.
Heiskanen’s deal could set the bar for other restricted free agent defensemen like Colorado’s Cale Makar and Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes this year, and Boston’s Charlie McAvoy next year.
Dickinson was a first-round pick by the Stars in 2013 and played 221 regular-season games and 40 more in the playoffs over six seasons. He had 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) last season and led Dallas forwards with 49 blocked shots.
The Associated Press
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