( Photo Credit: Joe Haggerty )
By: Jamie Gatlin | Follow Me on Twitter: @JamieGatlin1217
Last year Danton Heinen played his first full NHL season. Heinen made his NHL debut during the 2016-2017 season but only appeared in eight games. During those eight games, it did not look like he was NHL ready as he did not record a point. His 2017-18 campaign went very differently. He finished fifth on the team in points with 47. In the playoffs, he struggled as he only scored one goal and had zero assists. This upcoming season he will look to build off his success while being motivated by his playoff disappointment. With many Bruins prospects waiting in the wings, Heinen will have to prove that last year was no fluke.
In 77 games last season Heinen had 16 goals and 31 assists. On the power play, he had 12 points including two goals. He trailed only Krug, Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak in points on the Bruins. His value was not only reflected in his statistics but in how the Bruins used him. Heinen began the season on the third line, but he did not stay there all season. Due to injuries to players such as Patrice Bergeron, he found himself on the Bruins first and second lines at times. His two-way game, which has drawn comparisons to Bergeron, fit very well on the Bruins top two lines. His impact was echoed by Bergeron’s linemate Brad Marchand. When asked about Heinen’s impact in February Marchand said, ” And I can’t say enough about Heino and how his two-way game has added so much to our roster. You need guys like Grizzy and Heino to win a cup.” Marchand would know since he won a cup with the Bruins in 2011.
Going into last season, Heinen flew under the radar. His teammates who were also rookies at the time including Charlie McAvoy and Jake DeBrusk got all the attention. This season he will not be flying under the radar for Bruins fans. It is most likely that he will start the season on the Bruins third or second line. It will depend on if the Bruins keep their deadly top line together or break it up to improve their other lines. That is something the Bruins will experiment with early on in the season. Heinen proved last year that he will excel in whatever role he is placed in.
Although Heinen had a solid season, he was prone to slumps. That was in part due to the fact that it was his first NHL season. He will need to limit them this upcoming season especially if he is placed on the Bruins second line. Repeating his numbers from last season should not be a hard task. He is not a 30-goal scorer, but his tenacity should allow him to record 30-plus assists again. As Marchand said, his two-way game brings an element to the Bruins that makes Heinen invaluable. He may not be the most skilled player, but through hard work, he has put himself in a position to succeed.