Driving into work this morning I was thinking more about Miro Heiskanen after his Olympic debut on the 16th in Team Finland’s 5-2 win over Team Germany. He obviously went third over all for a reason. He was so impressive despite the ugly turnover that led to the first German goal.
The more I think about it the more impressed I am with how he uses his hockey IQ to maximize his skills. Often against Germany he would tap the puck into space then use his skating to beat the opposition to the puck. It’s such a small play, but really smart for an 18 year old to be pulling off against adults.
Fortunately I wouldn’t have to wait long to see Heiskanen in action again. He and the rest of Team Finland took on Team Norway Friday night. Finland handled them fairly easily, 5-1. Eeli Tolvanen was really good again and is going to terrorize the Central Division with Nashville. We’re #HereForMiro though.
One thing I found odd about his Olympic debut is that he did almost nothing in the offensive zone. He shied away from shooting at every turn despite scoring at a high clip in Finland. Someone on the coaching staff must have thought the same thing because against Norway he came out firing.
How about some gifs?
You’ll see Heiskanen come in on the top left corner to pick up a puck at his own blueline and skate it out of danger.
Don’t get me wrong, he still tried to pass the puck. On this opportunity off-screen is a wide open winger. The player in the slot decided he wanted the puck though.
Heiskanen’s first of, I believe, three shots on the night. This one made a legit thud when it popped the blocker.
The reverse angle:
One of the many fun zone exists Heiskanen attempted (and succeeded) to make.
Miro playing some…interesting (???) defense. He had good gap on the forward, but I’m not sure what he was doing after the forward stopped skating.
More fun exiting the zone:
This play was actually horrific to watch live because you couldn’t tell that the puck hit the net over the glass until they showed the reverse angle. Heiskanen looks like a kid chasing butterflies in the outfield in their first little league game.
I mean look at him.
Heiskanen’s second shot of the night was another hard wrister from the top of the circle.
The reverse angle again:
Here he is nonchalantly skating the puck out of danger to make a crisp outlet.
And now it’s time to watch Miro dance.
On day two his skating still stands out. The hockey IQ is off the charts. He pretty clearly has confidence to pull off some of the moves he attempts. But how many of those plays are really jaw dropping? They’re just really solid to good hockey plays, but there are so many of them.
It was great to see Heiskanen being more assertive offensively. If that is fully part of his game he’s going to be an easy number one defenseman. Right now he’s playing about 15 minutes a night. I found a gif from each shift except a couple in the third period. He is always doing something productive. If that is all he ends up becoming he’s going to have a solid 15 year NHL career.
If some more of that offense we saw tonight comes out as he gets older? You’ve got yourself a player there.
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