Bruins make their decision on Danton Heinen
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While all eyes will be on the Bruins' upcoming decision with Matt Poitras as the 19-year-old suits up for the ninth game of his NHL career Monday night at TD Garden, the Bruins made a decision on a different player, with Danton Heinen officially signed by the club.
The deal for Heinen, who had been with the club on a pro tryout throughout training camp and for the first eight games of the season, is a one-year deal worth the NHL minimum of $775,000.
In action for three games during this past preseason, the 28-year-old Heinen scored one goal on seven shots, and record one hit, one takeaway, and two blocked shots.
Heinen also ranked sixth on the team in shot attempts (eight), eighth in individual scoring chances, and third in individual high-danger scoring chances at five-on-five play during his preseason run with the club.
Following the preseason, the Bruins asked Heinen to be ‘patient’ with them while they figured out the money and the total complexion of their roster.
The Bruins have since lost fourth-line wingers Milan Lucic to Jakub Lauko to injuries (the Bruins expect Lucic to miss about two more weeks and Lauko will be out at least a week), while the fourth-line shuffle has led the B’s to Jesper Boqvist, Oskar Steen, and Patrick Brown before officially signing Heinen ahead of Monday’s head-to-head with the Panthers.
With the Penguins for the past two seasons, Heinen is coming off a 2022-23 season that included eight goals and 22 points in 65 games for Pittsburgh. It was a noticeable dip from what was a solid debut with the Penguins for Heinen on the scoring front, with a career-high 18 goals for the Pens in 2021-22.
Some of the issues that plagued Heinen towards the end of his first Boston run came to the table in Pittsburgh, too. After beginning the 2021-22 season with three goals in five games, the 6-foot-2, lefty-shooting Heinen went 34 straight games without finding the back of the net. And after breaking that drought with goals in back-to-back games, Heinen then went goalless for the 21 games that followed.
Heinen’s usage and opportunities went down in Year 2 with the Penguins, too, but he was a strong value add for Pittsburgh all the same, as he checked in at just over $45,000 per point. That was the 118th-most affordable rate among forwards on standard contracts, and with Heinen going through those two aforementioned massive goal droughts.
Drafted by the Bruins with a fourth-round pick in 2014, Heinen put up 34 goals and 103 points, and had a career-high 47 points in 2017-18, over a four-season run with the Bruins from 2016 through 2020.
Ultimately shipped out of Boston in a one-for-one swap involving Nick Ritchie ahead of the 2020 NHL trade deadline, Heinen then put up 36 goals and 73 points over 193 games between the Ducks and Penguins.
Heinen’s (official) return to Boston comes with a reunion with more than a few old linemates and teammates, from Brad Marchand to Jake DeBrusk to Charlie Coyle and more. And for a team that’s still looking for some solidified combos when it comes to their forward lineup, that’s real good news for all involved.
Marchand and Heinen played over 267 minutes of five-on-five together from 2017 through 2020, and the Bruins outshot opponents 214-178, out-chanced them 134-116, and outscored them 16-9 over that stretch. Heinen also had considerable experience playing with Coyle, with the duo together for 390 minutes of five-on-five play during Heinen’s final two seasons with the Bruins. During that sample, the Bruins outshot opponents 214-175 and outscored them 13-8, and the Coyle-Heinen duo made up two-thirds of what emerged as a go-to option for Boston on their third line during the 2019 postseason.
Heinen also played for current Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery during his run with the University of Denver, and put up 36 goals and 93 points in 81 games with Denver from 2014 through 2016.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has been covering the Bruins since 2010, and has been a member of the Boston chapter of the PHWA since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, HockeyBuzz.com or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter/X: @_TyAnderson.