(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Nick Wass)
By: Ian Smith | Follow me on Twitter @IanMalcolmSmith
The Boston Bruins have been in search of consistent scoring beyond just their top line this season, and Danton Heinen has not yet shown the offensive output he did last season. Heinen has played in 30 of the 32 games this season for the Bruins, including 26 consecutive games dating back to October 18. What’s a bit discouraging is that he only has four goals and four assists for eight total points thus far in those 30 games played. This is just Heinen’s second full season in the NHL, so it’s not like there was really a long track record of what to expect from him in terms of offensive production. He really showed a lot of scoring promise as a rookie, though, which definitely evokes the question of what type of output should be expected of him going forward.
In 77 games last season for the Bruins, Heinen scored 16 goals and dished out 31 assists for a total of 47 points, which ranked fifth on the team. Amongst all rookies in the NHL last season, Heinen ranked tied for sixth in assists, ninth in points, and 11th in goals. Heinen has two goals and an assist in his previous four games, so perhaps that is a sign that he’s about to start generating more offense. He’s a good skater who has some nice scoring ability, and his relative lack of production this season has certainly made things harder for the Bruins to find scoring beyond that top line.
He has averaged 13:45 time on the ice per game, which is down from 15:01 last season, so he has not been getting as much opportunities to work. He’s also not getting as many shots on goal, either. He’s averaging about 1.47 shots on goal per game this season, which is down from his 1.75 shots on goal per game last season. When adjusted to account for his less time out on the ice, he’s still generally not getting pucks on net as frequently as he did last season. This season he averages a shot on goal about every 9.39 minutes he’s out on the ice. Last season, he averaged a shot on goal about every 8.57 minutes he was out on the ice. He also hasn’t been converting those attempts at as good of a rate this year as he was last year. He had an 11.9% shooting percentage last season, while this season that total has decreased to a 9.1% shooting percentage.
His best scoring months last season where October and December, when he averaged a point per game in both of those months. March was his worst scoring month in terms of points per game. He played in 15 games last March and had just four points. Given his strong December last season, it wouldn’t be surprising if these last four games for Heinen signal a prolific finish to this month. It will be huge for the Bruins if Heinen is able to produce offense from here on out the way he was able to last season. With all the key injuries this team is battling, they need guys to play the way they’re fully capable of playing, and Heinen really showed what he can do on offense last season.