Stars, Miro Heiskanen Agree to 8-Year, $67.6M Contract Extension

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 17, 2021

Dallas Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen (4) plays against the Nashville Predators in the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, May 1, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

The Dallas Stars announced Saturday they've signed defenseman Miro Heiskanen to an eight-year, $67.6 million contract extension.

Heiskanen is now linked to the Stars through the 2028-29 NHL season with an annual salary-cap hit of $8.45 million.

"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 [general manager] Jim [Nill] and his staff are building, and it's important to reward them for the trust they've shown with this long-term commitment."

The 21-year-old Finnish blueliner was selected by Dallas with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 draft, and he's quickly emerged as one of the league's most promising two-way defensemen.

He's recorded 95 points (28 goals and 67 assists) in 205 regular-season games. His relative Fenwick percentage is 3.8 points higher than his Stars teammates on average across his first three seasons, per Hockey Reference.

Dom Luszczyszyn of The Athletic projected Heiskanen will be worth 17.3 wins during the length of his new contract and provided a look at some recent comparables:

dom at the athletic @domluszczyszyn

Miro Heiskanen is already one of the game's best defensive defencemen with plenty of offensive upside. He hasn't even hit his peak yet and should be well worth his new extension. <a href="https://t.co/2qLmgdlatJ">pic.twitter.com/2qLmgdlatJ</a>

Nill said the club was "excited" to announce the extension with one of the league's rising stars:

"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. 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. On behalf of [team owner] Tom Gagliardi, his family, and our organization, we want to thank Miro for his commitment to the team and we all look forward to watching him as he continues to evolve into one of the elite players of the game."

Heiskanen joins Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, Esa Lindell and Radek Faksa as members of the Stars' core who are signed through at least 2024-25.

Dallas missed the playoffs by four points last season with a 23-19-14 record. The front office's offseason focus will likely be upgrading an offense that ranked 19th in goals per game (2.74). The Heiskanen-led defense was seventh in goals allowed per contest (2.60).

The Stars have an estimated $5.8 million in cap space, the league's third-lowest total, per CapFriendly. They could gain more flexibility via the Seattle Kraken exhibition draft Wednesday and via trades during the standard draft next Friday and Saturday.

Regardless, keeping Heiskanen for the long haul was a no-brainer despite the high cap hit. He'll be a strong Norris Trophy contender in the coming seasons, especially if Dallas improves as a whole.