Stars sign defender Miro Heiskanen to eight-year, $67.6M extension

Dallas Stars' Miro Heiskanen buries one backhand top shelf on Tampa Bay Lightning's Andrei Vasilevskiy.

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — The Dallas Stars have signed defenceman Miro Heiskanen to an eight-year contract worth $67.6 million.

The deal announced Saturday carries an annual salary cap hit of $8.45 million through the 2028-29 season. Only five NHL defencemen currently count more against the cap next season.

The 21-year-old Finn had 27 points last season and ranked ninth in the leagu e in ice time at just under 25 minutes a game. Heiskanen has 28 goals and 67 assists for 95 points in 205 regular-season games. He also has 30 points in 40 playoff games with Dallas, including a trip to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final.

``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,'' general manager Jim Nill said in a statement. ``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.''

Heiskanen, the third pick in the 2017 draft, was fourth in Calder Trophy voting as rookie of the year his first season and 12th in Norris voting in 2019-20. He became a restricted free agent this summer.

``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 Jim and his staff are building, and it's important to reward them for the trust they've shown with this long-term commitment.''

Heiskanen's deal could set the bar for other restricted free agent defencemen like Colorado's Cale Makar and Vancouver's Quinn Hughes this year, and Boston's Charlie McAvoy next year.

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