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Miro Heiskanen played as an underager on Finland’s gold medal winning Under-18 team last season. He also has been playing in Finland’s top men’s league, the SM Liiga, putting up five goals and 10 points in 37 games this. Heiskanen has picked up another two assists in seven playoff games. He also played for Finland at the World Juniors, and while he only put up one assist in six games, he looked decent given that he was an underager in a tournament that traditionally showcases 19 year olds. Heiskanen continued his strong international play at the Five Nations. He will likely get another chance to show off his skills on the international stage with the upcoming Under-18 World Championships.
Miro Heiskanen Scouting Report: 2017 NHL Draft #5
Defense — shoots Left
Born Jul 18 1999 — Espoo, Finland
Height 6’0″ — Weight 174 lbs [183 cm / 79 kg]
Heiskanen has very good skating ability. He has good speed and acceleration in both directions. Heiskanen also has the agility and edge work to make quick pivots and transition from defence to offence, or vice-versa. This allows him to get up in the play, join the rush, and pinch in the offensive zone, and also get back defensively. His skating ability means that he can cover a lot of ice, providing a two-way game. Heiskanen’s lateral agility and ability to walk the line allows him to open up passing and shooting lanes on the powerplay. He needs to continue to get stronger, to improve his balance, and ability to win battles along the wall and in front of the net.
Heiskanen may never be a huge offensive producer from the point, but he can generate some offence. He is a good passer, and can start the rush by making a move to avoid a forechecker and getting the puck up the ice to a teammate. He can also lead or make plays on the point on the powerplay. Heiskanen’s passing skills extend to his ability to man the point on the powerplay, where he can set things up on the back end. He is an excellent stick handler. He can lead the rush and make plays through the neutral zone, and also has the poise to make plays at the blue line.
Heiskanen needs some work on his slap shot, and one-timer. Added upper body mass may allow him to fire it harder. He does make good use of his wrist shot, however. He has a quick release and gets it on net even when faced with pressuring defenders. Heiskanen finds the right teams to sneak down from the point and recieve a pass to get a good wrist shot on net.
Heiskanen is very good in his own end already. He has excellent gap control and is very tough to beat one-on-one. Positioning is a real strength, as he gets himself into good positions and uses his stick and his body to cut down passing and shooting lanes. He could stand to be a bit more physical both in the corners and in front of the net. Heiskanen is quick to retrieve pucks in corners and get the puck out of dangerous areas, and start the transition game.
Projection and Comparison
Heiskanen may never be a huge offensive producer, but he can develop into an excellent two-way defenceman, who can contribute on both the power play and the penalty kill, and play tough match-ups at even strength. He has to continue to refine his game and add mass, but there is a lot of potential here. Heiskanen’s style is reminiscent of Cam Fowler, though this is not a comparison based on talent.
The following is a compilation of highlights, assembled from Youtube.
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