Dallas Stars 2017 first round draft pick Miro Heiskanen did not report for the first day of training camp on Thursday. Heiskanen, who was selected third overall in the 2017 National Hockey League Entry Draft suffered a concussion after taking an elbow to the head during a Champions League Hockey Game in the Finnish Elite League. The news first surfaced early Thursday morning before eventually being confirmed. Heiskanen will remain in Finland for several days before eventually making a decision on whether or not to report to training camp.
According to report in Finland, Miro Heiskanen won't be at Stars training camp due to concussion. Wasn't safe to travel over here.
— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) September 14, 2017
Many Stars fans were excited to see Heiskanen debut at training camp. The 18-year-old was coming off a 10 point (five goals, five assists) in 37 games played during the 2016-17 Liiga season, Finland’s top hockey league. He was a top defenseman for HIFK Helsinki. He was reported to play at training camp before heading back to the Liiga for at least one more year so that he may mature and grow as a player. However, with this concussion now evident, that all remains cloudy. Dallas head coach Ken Hitchcock stated Thursday that the team will wait a couple days before making a decision, and if they decide to keep Heiskanen over in Finland, he will most likely remain there to play the 2017-18 season.
Heiskanen has not skated in a few weeks and has been rehabbing and undergoing concussion protocol in Finland, all of which has been closely monitored by Stars coaches and staff. “He’s going under some concussion protocol testing,” General Manager Jim Nill said in an interview with SportsDay Dallas. “We’re going to get to a point where (his team in Finland) is already playing, he hasn’t skated for two or three weeks, and he would hardly skate here. I don’t want to interrupt his season too much. I want to be careful. We’ll know in the next two or three days.”
The process will continue to be a slow one with Heiskanen, who still has time to recover. There is no rush to have him fly over to North America and train with the team. There is going to be a battle for the top six defensive positions, which does not need to include Heiskanen. John Klingberg, Julius Honka, Dan Hamhuis, Marc Methot, Esa Lindell, Stephen Johns, Jamie Oleksiak, Patrik Nemeth, and Greg Pateryn are those included in that fight for a job.