The Dallas Stars have inked an international free agent, signing forward Joel Kiviranta to a two-year, entry-level contract. Kiviranta was most recently seen at the IIHF World Championship with Finland, winning a gold medal.
Kiviranta, 23, has played in Finland’s top league for five seasons now, steadily growing as an offensive player. This season saw him record 16 goals and 31 points before being named to the national squad, where he added another three points in nine tournament games. While undrafted, the amount of professional experience that Kiviranta brings with him is exceptional for such a young player, and he immediately adds some depth to the Dallas forward pipeline.
Though it’s not clear if he will make an impact right away, there is certainly no risk in signing a player of his ability. If he can show the same steady two-way game that the world saw in the recent tournament, Dallas has added a legitimate NHL player without spending any more than an entry-level deal. If not, he can at least help out the Texas Stars for a year or two before deciding where he wants to continue his career. The Stars organization has plenty of Finns already on the roster, including budding superstar Miro Heiskanen who would have faced off against Kiviranta multiple times.