While many people are talking about the impact that rookie defenseman Rasmus Dahlin will make on the Buffalo Sabres, many are forgetting that the Dallas Stars have an impact defenseman of their own entering the league this year in Miro Heiskanen. The third-overall pick from the 2017 draft is expected to make an immediate impact to aid the Stars’ defense, but he is expected to be brought along slowly to start the season, according to SportsDay’s Matthew DeFranks.
In a personal profile of the 19-year-old, the scribe writes that the team will likely ease him into the lineup as he will likely either be paired with shutdown defenseman Stephen Johns or fellow countryman Julius Honka on the second or third line, depending on how quickly he can adjust to the North American style of game. He has spent the last two seasons in Finland, playing against men in Liiga for HIFK, where he was named the league’s top defenseman last season.
- Tracey Myers of NHL.com writes that Chicago Blackhawks’ star Patrick Kane is ready to wipe the slate clean from last year’s disappointing season and the goal is to get the team back into the playoffs. Kane had a down season compared to the previous two years as he tallied 27 goals and 79 points. Normally a solid season, it still paled in comparison to the 106 points he posted in 2015-16 or the 89 points in 2016-17. “We all have that feeling within us where it’s like, we did some good things, but you’re restarting now and you have to prove yourself again,” Kane said. “It’s a long season, and I think maybe we got ahead of ourselves a little bit last year.”
- With all the talent the St. Louis brought in this season, including Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron, Tyler Bozak and Patrick Maroon, it might seem unlikely that the team’s two top prospects, Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou, might be shoved out of the way next season. In a mailbag story, St. Louis Post Dispatch’s Jim Thomas said that is very unlikely when it comes to Robert Thomas, saying that he can’t picture a scenario where the team doesn’t keep Thomas, who is likely to center the team’s fourth line next season. Thomas, who dominated the OHL last season, would either have to make the club or be returned to juniors for another year and the scribe believes sending him back to Hamilton isn’t going to help him. So he’s best off learning on the fly in the NHL. Kyrou, on the other hand, very likely will end up with the AHL San Antonio Rampage. Now that Kyrou is finished with juniors, he can learn in the AHL for a season before coming over. Thomas doesn’t have the AHL option open to him.
- In a mailbag article, The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro (subscription required) writes that it seems less and less likely that Dallas Stars prospect Denis Gurianov will be success in the NHL. The 12th-overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft struggled in the AHL at times this season. He finished the season with 19 goals in 74 games, but also was scratched during the Texas Stars’ playoff run. Shapiro writes that he doesn’t believe that Gurianov has the hockey IQ to be successful in the league. He is a hard worker, but doesn’t understand the game. When he was scratched, it was an organizational decision, according to Shapiro, not a coaching decision.