I’ve been doing some digging to get ready for the upcoming NHL Draft. I would like to give as much information as I can reasonably find on each of the players I think would be reasonable targets for the Dallas Stars at the 13th pick so I’m diving deep.
Spoiler alert: very near the top of that list is Finnish forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi. His profile is coming soon. In looking him up I came across something I didn’t realize existed: fancy stats for Liiga, the top league in Finland. Also playing in Liiga is Stars uber prospect Miro Heiskanen. So natural curiosity made me look him up.
Let’s look into it piece by piece starting with his scoring rates.
We knew Heiskanen got first pairing ice time, but it really sticks out when the visual aspect is added. The fact that his even strength goal scoring and primary assists per hour each individually made him score at the rate of a first pairing defender is something I didn’t realize.
His point totals could have been even better. Miro’s IFK teammates only shot 4% with him on the ice. Bump that up a little and the assists will be racked up quickly.
IFK was solid at generating shots and goals without Heiskanen on the ice. They were dominant with him on the ice though. The goal for these charts is to be in the upper right hand corner as much as possible.
Finnish teams don’t score against him, but they allow goals. The heat map shows how that happens. Remember that Heiskanen plays on the left side. I marked the areas of the ice to take note of on the chart below.
Teams just don’t get shots against IFK with Miro on the ice. The only red that shows up is on the fringes of the left face off circle outside of the prime scoring area. The left wing probably bares more responsibility for that than Heiskanen anyway given how tidy the area in front of the net looks.
Heiskanen puts puck on the net too. In the offensive zone you see an abundance of red at the left point into the face off circle, but also in about the same area on the right. He’s so damn good.
The rate stats look stupid for an 18 year old playing against grown men. They would look great for anyone, but an 18 year old performing the way he did is simply unfair. This was an NHL talent playing in Europe, and he’s going to look so good in North America in just a few months.