Miro Heiskanen is widely considered one of the best defensemen eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft and is a player who could be selected very early in the draft. The 17-year-old defenseman from Espoo, Finland, is having a very good rookie season for HIFK in the Liiga. He has scored five goals and ten points in 37 games. Heiskanen has averaged 18 minutes and 59 seconds of ice-time per game.
Heiskanen describes himself as a puck-moving defenseman with good mobility. When asked about his expectations and goals for this season, he told me he didn’t expect to play this many games in the Liiga.
”I expected to play big minutes in the U20 league and get some games in the Liiga.”
His answer was fairly humble regarding the reasons why he has been able to play significant minutes in the Liiga this season.
”My overall game is at a good enough level so that I can play in the Liiga.”
Heiskanen noted that the biggest difference between the Liiga and U20 league is that the opponents are stronger and smarter in the Liiga. He said he hasn’t felt any extra pressure because of the upcoming NHL Draft – he just tries to play his own game.
He mentioned the former great NHLer Pavel Datsyuk as a role model. His parents have had the biggest influence on his career.
He was a part of the gold-winning Finnish team at the U18 World Championship tourmanent in April 2016. He scored one assist in seven games while being one of the seven 1999 born players on his team. He considers winning the tournament a favorite memory of his career thus far. Heiskanen told he’s definitely willing to play at this year’s tournament in Slovakia if the opportunity presents itself.
With the high amount of offensive skill, hockey sense and superb skating ability that Heiskanen possesses, you will be hearing his name a lot in the future.