The Boston Bruins avoided arbitration by signing forward Danton Heinen to a two-year pact worth $5.6 million. And if you take his word for it, Heinen’s $2.8 million cap hit over the next two seasons will end up being a bargain for the Black and Gold.
It’s likely that Heinen may have gotten more in arbitration if the two sides had not come to an agreement before the August 3 meeting. And while the deal makes things a little more complicated with restricted free agents Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo due to the salary cap, the Bruins do lock up a young player with two years of NHL experience that has proven to be a responsible player in all three zones.
The next step? Trying to get back on the offensive track he started down in his rookie season when he put up 16 goals and 31 assists. Those numbers fell to 11 and 23 last season. His shot output also dropped from 135 to 114.
Heinen showed the kind of versatility to play on any of the B’s four lines, fitting best alongside Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson on the third line, but capable of filling in when needed in the top six.
But the University of Denver product sees himself as “an offensive guy,” and hopes he can contribute more in that area.
“That’s the kind of player I see myself being. Coming into the league, I want to be an offensive guy,” Heinen said in a conference call Thursday. “I want to, you know, create more, and I’m going to keep on working at doing that, trying to produce more for the team.
“I mean you always definitely want to score more goals. There’s nothing better than scoring, you know, but I think, yeah, I’ve always worked on my shot in the summertime and continue to work on it, but I think, yeah, that’s definitely something I’ll emphasize, and I’m going to continue to work on,” Heinen added. “I think I also need to, you know, kind of get in a mindset where I’m shooting more and am more confident in my shot because, you know, different opportunities I might pass up or whatever. I believe in my shot, and I believe I can score, so yeah, I think it’s just continuing believing in that and working on it.”
With David Krejci’s right wing serving as a revolving door in the playoffs, and with the departure of Johansson, the opportunity is there for Heinen to grab a spot as a top-six forward, and it’s one he thinks he deserves a crack at.
“Yeah, maybe a bit. I think playing with those guys is, I mean, it’s an honor for sure,” he said. “It feels good to be a guy they tried up there and give the opportunity to me, and I didn’t take it lightly at all.”
Wherever Heinen ends up, the Bruins are expecting more output from him than his nine points in 33 career playoff games. And the first step for Heinen getting there is acknowledging that fact. And focusing on shooting more is not a bad second step.