When comparing him to the rest of the Bruins’ crop of young forwards, it’s easy to see why a player like Danton Heinen could get lost in the shuffle.
He doesn’t have the silky mitts or the heavy shot that David Pastrnak possesses, nor does he have the wheels to make something out of nothing like Jake DeBrusk often does when charging toward Grade-A areas of the ice.
No, Heinen’s strength often lies in his versatility and his refined, two-way play — rare traits to be found in a younger forward up in the NHL ranks. Of course, a one-time blast or a nifty dangle makes the highlight reels far more than stick lift or a chip out of the D zone, and as such, Heinen can be a bit of a polarizing figure when it comes to assessing his stock on this Bruins club.
A B’s team already feeling the cap crunch re-upped Heinen on a two-year contract extension this week, with the forward brought back into the fold on a deal that will account for a $2.8 million cap hit in both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 campaigns.
While Don Sweeney and his staff will need to take a long look at the rest of the roster in an effort to free up the capital needed to retain both Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo, Heinen’s new deal shouldn’t be viewed as a roadblock toward the rest of Boston’s offseason priorities.
Heinen’s new cap hit might be close to $2 million more than what the Bruins were previously on the hook for with his entry-level deal, but don’t let the 24-year-old forward’s dip in offensive production last season discourage you.
On a Bruins’ club in need of some stability on the wing behind the big guns of Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, Heinen and his current contract provides plenty of value as an strong defensive presence — with an offensive ceiling that could be realized as early as next year.