It has been quite a year for Miro Heiskanen, the third overall pick last year by the Dallas Stars. The young defenseman put up 23 points in 30 games in the Finnish Liiga, played well at the World Juniors and the Olympics, and most recently has starred in the World Championships. As reported by the Associated Press, the only logical next step is the NHL. “I want to play there as soon as possible, that’s my goal”, Heiskanen said about joining the league’s best in the NHL next season. Heiskanen knows that he could still get stronger and smarter, but his skill is very clearly pro-ready. Heiskanen is likely to step in and immediately play a key two-way role on the Dallas blue line. Expect the announcement sooner rather than later that arguably the best defensive prospect in hockey will be a full-time Star next season.
- Former Stars goalie Richard Bachman has struggled to ever be more in the NHL than he was as Dallas’ primary backup in 2011-12. He has spent almost all of the past five years toiling in the AHL for the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks. Heading into free agency, it seems Bachman has decided to move on from the NHL. Swedish news site Hockey Sverige reports that Bachman is expected to sign with Timra of the SHL. Instead of sitting behind Swedes – Jacob Markstrom and Anders Nilsson – in the NHL, the 30-year-old Bachman is expected to be given the starter’s job initially with Timra as he begins a new chapter in his career.
- Former NHL defenseman Anton Belov won’t be making the jump across the Atlantic this summer. The Russian rearguard has re-signed with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL, the team he has played with since leaving the Edmonton Oilers in 2013-14, for three more years per a team release. This extension likely rules out a future return to the NHL for the 31-year-old, though he will remain a visible name on the international stage as a top defender for a perennial KHL contender and as a frequent member of Russian national teams.